The Post-birthday World

The Post-birthday World

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Can the course of life hinge on a single kiss? Whether American expatriate Irina McGovern does or doesn't lean into a certain pair of lips in London will determine if she stays with her smart, disciplined, intellectual American partner, Lawrence, or runs off with Ramsey--a wild, exuberant British snooker star she and her husband have known for years.
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; In The Post-Birthday World, international bestselling author Lionel Shriver uses a parallel-universe structure to examine the implications--large and small--of whom we choose to love. As Irina's two departing futures unfold, Shriver pits one flawed-but decent man against another with all the subtlety, perceptiveness and drama that made her last novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, the winner of the 2005 Orange Prize.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781554681693
Branch Call Number: SHR
Characteristics: 517 p.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jun 07, 2012

Lionel Shriver is an astounding author. She has a way of describing emotions, nuances of communication and scenes in such a way that you actually discover things about yourself you had no idea were there.

This book takes on the all-too-frequently-experienced taboo of infidelity, and examines if there really is any right or wrong, a better "here" than "there", and the eternal "what if?". I love how all the threads came together in the end.

Jan 08, 2012

Since reading "We Need to Talk About Kevin" (albeit only weeks ago), I've wanted to read something more from Shriver. What luck when my library order came in so quickly! From the cover this looks like a light chick-lit novel but it is anything but light; it gave me a lot of solid topics to contemplate for days afterwards. I.e. I was unable to pick up another book for days because I wanted to savour the discussion I was having with myself. It is however a definite chick-lit specimen. She is able to write about the true thoughts of married women for married women. I would liken Shriver to a female version of John Irving in fact. Plus she uses $50 words.
The story takes both paths from a critical decision of whether or not to cheat (hence my multiple worlds musings). In essence pp379-380 reads: "The idea is that you don't have only one destiny... But whichever direction you go, there are going to be upsides and downsides. You're dealing with a set of trade-offs, and not one perfect course in comparison to which all the others are crap."

brianreynolds Jun 02, 2011

Sometimes a book presents itself to a reader at the most opportune moment possible, speaks personally as if answers were given before the questions were known. When that happens, "amazing" is a lock whether "amazing" has or may not have much to do with literary merit. Such a reader may be so biased that his "review" should be suspect, and that seems to be the case with this reader and The Post-Birthday World.

Shriver has "stopped by the Woods on a Snowy Evening," that evening being the breakdown of a loving relationship. The two roads that lie ahead for Irina McGovern, the one not taken and the one taken, seem clear, final, and real. Life however is not like that and neither is Shiver's novel. Life is filled with what if and what. Life is full of what is real and what might have been. Emotions can be controlled. Or they are controlling. "Something you suffer, or something you make?" Once made, the only certainty is that the choice cannot be unmade.

At the crossroads, one senses the cataclysm. One thinks they have a pretty good idea what lies ahead in either direction, that the choice, while difficult, is knowable. How easily in life tides turn, paths twist, and fortunes change. Standing at the juncture, all one knows for sure is which ever path is chosen the world will never be the same. Shriver is frighteningly honest and poignantly brave in her narrative. Her characters come alive by travelling both roads simultaneously, fleshed out by both reality and dream, never totally one or the other, never certain if when the trails intersect, they have wandered from one dimension into the other.


Apr 01, 2011

Enjoyable read, if a little plodding, but beautiful details of domestic life, and excellent portrayal of the choices women make and the trade offs in relationships.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at ORL

To Top