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Double Fault by Lionel Shriver

Posted on | July 18, 2008 | 2 Comments

So Wimbledon was in progress, I was in my local bookshop and this novel caught my eye.

Its the story of Willy, a low ranking tennis professional on the way up when we first encounter her. She’s been playing tennis since aged four and is now in her mid twenties so time is running out for her to make it big.  She is obviously very driven, tennis is “her life”, her reason for being and she can’t seem to define herself without the game. She meets and falls in love with Eric, who took up the game at eighteen and is fast improving his ranking. Unlike her, he has other interests and talents and his not being as all consumed with tennis seems to irk her.

This book deals with their subsequent marriage and the rivalry between them as his career blossoms and her’s deteriorates. She resents the ease at which he excels and becomes very jealous of his success. Its a bleak book on relationships to be honest and the rivalry that may exist within a marriage. Her rage, jealousy and envy as pretty unrelenting can make uncomfortable reading.  None of the characters are particularly likeable and whilst this isn’t a huge problem, I found it very difficult to empathise with them or to find their actions credible. The same point is driven home again and again and as result I found persevering with reading this novel tough at times as the repetition grated.

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2 Responses to “Double Fault by Lionel Shriver”

  1. famron
    July 18th, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

    Her other one ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ didn’t do it for me either. Cheery she ain’t.

  2. Manic Mammy
    July 20th, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

    LOL. Yup, she’s a bit miserable really. I did find “We need to talk about Kevin” interesting though, despite the majority of the characters being fairly unsympathic. This novel was definitely less compelling.

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