Saturday, April 12, 2008
The Post-Birthday World
I've found that as my life has begun to get crammed full with work and weddings, friends and family, I've gotten more choosy with my book selections. I'm a huge book whore, but I just don't have time to waste on books that aren't really doing it for me.
Which makes me glad I picked up "The Post-Birthday World" by Lionel Shriver.
Anyone who's watched the movie "Sliding Doors" and saw how tricky it can be to follow two stories being played out simultaneously will appreciate this book. It's far more detailed and funny than the movie it shares much in common with.
It's the tale of an American artist, Irina McGovern who lives in London with her long-time boyfriend. They are friends with a famous snooker player named Ramsey Acton, and celebrate Ramsey's birthday together every year. One year Irina's boyfriend Lawrence cannot make the birthday dinner- and Irina and Ramsey meet for dinner alone. They get drunk and kiss. Or, they get drunk and Irina goes home without kissing Ramsey.
Each chapter continues on- one story follows Irina as she lives a life of guilt for having cheated on Lawrence and deals with the eventual break up and her new romance with Ramsey. The other follows Irina and Lawrence as they deal with their relationship, one filled with surprises and heartbreak.
I promise it's not as complicated as I'm making it sound. My favourite part of the story is how the author ensures that many of the same events happen, the same lines are said by a character but depending on which path Irina chose (to kiss or not to kiss..) the context is completely different.
It's a choose your own adventure for the adult world- a well written, richly worded account of what happens when you follow down both the path you chose and the road not taken.