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We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.)…
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We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.) (original 2003; edition 2006)

by Lionel Shriver

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,216287855 (4.1)1 / 551
Member:912greens
Title:We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Lionel Shriver
Info:Harper Perennial (2006), Edition: Movie Tie-In, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, "mental instability", killers, murder, family, mothers, prison, schools, archery

Work details

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (2003)

  1. 91
    Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (bnbookgirl, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both of these novels are about school shootings and the alienated teenage boys responsible for them. 'We need to talk about Kevin' depicts the complex relationships within the shooter's family, whereas 'Nineteen minutes' focuses on the larger community affected by the event.… (more)
  2. 81
    Columbine by Dave Cullen (GCPLreader)
  3. 50
    The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing (christiguc, humppabeibi)
    christiguc: Both are books that explore the nature vs. nurture question in disturbing situations.
  4. 40
    Before and After by Rosellen Brown (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both of these novels tell haunting, harrowing stories about the family relationships of teenage boys who commit unthinkable crimes: in 'We need to talk about Kevin' a school shooting, and in 'Before and after' a teenager's murder of his girlfriend.… (more)
  5. 30
    Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland (verenka)
    verenka: Both books deal with the aftermath of school shootings but from different perspectives.
  6. 30
    The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb (freddlerabbit)
  7. 42
    Defending Jacob by William Landay (arielfl, Booksloth)
    arielfl: Both books are about bad seed boys who murder and who have mothers who have an inkling about their true nature and with fathers who deny, deny, deny.
  8. 10
    The Point of Rescue / The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah (JeaniusOak)
    JeaniusOak: Both novels explore difficult themes surrounding Motherhood.
  9. 00
    Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist (julienne_preacher)
  10. 00
    The Dinner by Herman Koch (INTPLibrarian)
    INTPLibrarian: Disturbed child and parents dealing with it. Both with twists / unexpected parts.
  11. 22
    The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (RidgewayGirl)
  12. 00
    Boy A by Jonathan Trigell (FemmeNoiresque)
  13. 12
    The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (Monika_L)
  14. 03
    Empire Falls by Richard Russo (mcenroeucsb)
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English (274)  French (4)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (288)
Showing 1-5 of 274 (next | show all)
This was an incredibly powerful book for me on so many levels. I repeatedly felt a sense of guilt as I read through Eva's letters to her husband sensing that these were too personal to share, amazed at her level of complete honesty. At many times, Eva said things that I myself have felt but have never shared or, if I have, those feelings were presented in a much more palatable way. The naked and raw language employed by Lionel Shriver only added to that intimacy. Eva questions her role as a mother, and specifically her role as the mother of a child who has committed a mass school shooting and wonders whether she was, in some way, responsible for this heinous act. And then, just as I was settling in to this most unsettling of books, a Sixth Sense-like twist jarred me from my comfort zone and made it perfectly clear why this book won the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction. Magnificent. ( )
  kellifrobinson | Nov 24, 2014 |
The novel upon which the forthcoming film, acclaimed earlier this month at Cannes, is based. (See http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/may/12/cannes-we-need-talk-about-kevin-revie....) A remarkable read, meticulously plotted and paced. The plot sounds simple: "The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief -- and feelings of responsibility for her child's actions -- by writing to her estranged husband." The publisher's blurbs and cover art imply this is a "women's novel," but don't let that put you off. In fact, the diversity of opinion expressed in online reader reviews regarding what the book is "about" reflects the intricacy of the emotional arc of the book. I'm looking forward to the U.S. release of the film (as yet unscheduled; the U.K. release date is September 2), starring a translucent Tilda Swinton, spooky Ezra Miller, and stolid John C. Reilly, and filmed in NYC and Stamford, CT. ( )
  seth_g | Oct 31, 2014 |
Very interesting book. I couldn't put it down. It really shows how complicated a situation like this is. ( )
  locriian | Oct 27, 2014 |
My least favorite character in everything that I have read, yet pitiful at the same time. Eva Khatchadourian is the arrogrant, self-absorbed, cold mother to Kevin who as a teenager commits mass murder at his high school with a bow and arrow. Told in a series of letters to her husband, she tries to make sense of her own life and experiences of being a mother. She thinks herself quite intelligent and worldly having traveled all over the world; yet, she is incredibly stupid.

The writing at times is gripping and at times way too wordy. There are sentences that just make no sense; thus at times I skimmed. I did see the movie before reading this so I was able to visualize scenes. Most of the story was believable until it got to Kevin's experiences in high school particularly the instance where he blames a teacher of sexual harassment. The ending is an effective ending, but it takes way too long to get there. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 20, 2014 |
Wow! This book grabs you from the very beginning. Where do we go wong as parents in not seeing that our child is damaged. Devastating book. ( )
1 vote frenchmama | Jul 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 274 (next | show all)
A powerful, gripping and original meditation on evil
 
At a time when fiction by women has once again been criticised for its dull domesticity, here is a fierce challenge of a novel by a woman that forces the reader to confront assumptions about love and parenting, about how and why we apportion blame, about crime and punishment, forgiveness and redemption and, perhaps most significantly, about how we can manage when the answer to the question why? is either too complex for human comprehension, or simply non-existent.
 
The epistolary method Shriver uses, letters to Eva's absent husband, strains belief, yet ultimately that's not what trips us up. It's Eva's relentless negativity that becomes boring and repetitive in the first half of the book, the endless recounting of her loss of svelteness, her loss of freedom.
added by stephmo | editSalon.com, Barbara O'Dair (Aug 12, 2004)
 
Maybe there are books to be written about teenage killers and about motherhood, but this discordant and misguided novel isn't one of them.
added by stephmo | editThe Guardian, Sarah A. Smith (Nov 15, 2003)
 
A little less, however, might have done a lot more for this book. A guilt-stricken Eva Khatchadourian digs into her own history, her son's and the nation's in her search for the responsible party, and her fierceness and honesty sustain the narrative; this is an impressive novel, once you get to the end.

 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lionel Shriverprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trouw, MiekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
A child needs your love most when he deserves it least.
--Erma Bombeck
Dedication
For Terri: One worst-case scenario we've both escaped.
First words
I'm unsure why one trifling incident this afternoon has moved me to write to you.
Quotations
You were ambitious - for your life, what it was like when you woke up in the morning, and not for some attainment.  Like most people who did not answer a particular calling from an early age, you placed work beside yourself; any occupation would fill up your day but not your heart.  I liked that about you.  I liked it enormously.
Only a country that feels invulnerable can afford political turmoil as entertainment.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Poikani Kevin koostuu Evan kirjeistä miehelleen Franklinille. Eva Khatchadourianilla oli loistelias ura ja onnellinen avioliitto, ennen kuin hän sai lapsen. Nyt heidän poikansa Kevin on vankilassa järkyttävän rikoksen takia, ja Eva käy kirjeissään läpi tragediaa edeltänyttä aikaa. Miksi Kevin päätyi hirmutekoon? Oliko kaikki vanhempien syytä? Mitä jos Eva olisi rakastanut Keviniä enemmän? Jos Frank ei olisi aina yrittänyt nähdä asioiden valoista puolta? Jos Eva olisi halunnut lasta enemmän? Vai olisiko näistä mikään muuttanut mitään? Shriver käsittelee tarkkanäköisesti mustimpiakin tunteita ja ajassa liikkuvia ilmiöitä. Romaani käsittelee suuria kysymyksiä "arkisesti", kiinnittyy omaan aikaamme ja erittelee sen vastenmielisimpiä piirteitä tinkimättömästi. Se kysyy oikeita kysymyksiä, mutta ei anna valmiita vastauksia. Poikani Kevin on romaani syyllisyydestä, äidinrakkaudesta ja sen puuttumisesta, itsekkyydestä ja selittämättömästä pahuudesta, jota on mahdoton selittää tyhjäksi millään psykologian teorioilla. Järkyttävä, yllätyksellinen ja ajatuksia herättävä romaani voitti vuoden 2005 Orange-palkinnon.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006112429X, Paperback)

The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry

Eva never really wanted to be a mother—and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Eva Khatchadourian writes to her estranged husband Frank, trying to solve what went wrong in raising their son Kevin after he kills seven classmates and a teacher in his high school in upstate New York.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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Editions: 1921145080, 192175849X

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