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Double Fault: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, March 31, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061711381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061711381
  • ASIN: B003JTHUWU
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,282,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Novelist Shriver offers this aptly named romance about two aspiring tennis pros who fall in love and marry only to come to blows on the court and subsequently at home. The narration by soap-opera actress Renée Raudman brings an air of theatricality to the occasionally stiff prose. Under her command, the story becomes an old-fashioned romance replete with one-dimensional characters (who actually become quite likable through Raudman's well-crafted tone) and overwrought scenarios that only serve to make listening all the more enjoyable. Fans of the genre will be giddy with delight, but those looking for a serious love story may be disappointed. A Harper Perennial hardcover. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A marriage wrecked on the shoals of ambition is the theme of Shriver's intriguing sixth novel (The Female of the Species, LJ 2/15/87). When 23-year-old Willy Novinsky meets and marries Eric Oberdorfer, she's a rising professional tennis star and he's a Princeton graduate who just plays for the love of the game. As Eric's tennis prowess increases and his ranking in the men's professional circuit rises, Willy suffers an injury and then a loss of confidence, both of which cause her rankings to plummet. Willy must decide whether her love for her husband is greater than her desire for a number-one ranking in women's tennis and how much she will sacrifice to achieve her goal. Shriver's challenge here is to convince the reader to empathize with Willy, despite her unattractive behavior and misguided choices. Shriver is a talented enough writer to win over some readers, but many will quickly lose patience with Willy and want to tell her to simply grow up and set her priorities straight. Recommended for public libraries.?Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Lionel Shriver is a novelist whose previous books include Orange Prize-winner We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Post-Birthday World, A Perfectly Good Family, Game Control, Double Fault, The Female of the Species, Checker and the Derailleurs, and Ordinary Decent Criminals.

She is widely published as a journalist, writing features, columns, op-eds, and book reviews for the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Economist, Marie Claire, and many other publications.

She is frequently interviewed on television, radio, and in print media. She lives in London and Brooklyn, NY.

Customer Reviews

The characters are unlikable but that is OK.
Anne Lee
Clearly, I am not the first reader who was stunned by the painful, breathtaking, beautifully written and important "We Need to Talk About Kevin".
Wordman
I liked Shriver's other book, "We Need to Talk about Kevin," but this book, "Double Fault" whined on for too long.
Eileen Granfors

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By swright5@erols.com on November 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Admittedly, I checked this book out of the library b/c I really like to play tennis and I was curious about the book's use of the sport as metphor to explore (as the bkcover says)"marriage the ultimate sport." Only apparently, I wasn't fully prepared for the never-ending, morose, despiseable jealousies contained herein. I think Lionel Shriver is a talented writer, but that this book is abymally bitter, relentlessly bitter at every turn - to the point where I was ready to pitch the characters' marriage (&almost this book) long before the characters do. The main character, Willy Novinsky, is very unlikeable throughout (though I kept waiting in vain to find some redeeming quality), and I'm not sure she ultimately serves the rhetorical purpose of exploring the book's two-career marriage theme. Like being hammered over the head, the message here is suffocatingly clear. And though I might not agree with the author that modern marriage is inherently corrupt, I do believe no one in their right mind would want to spend another moment with these two. Like them, I found myself surely "beaten" by the end of this game's match.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Meltzer on September 26, 1997
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is undoubtely well-crafted an written by a real "pro". The dialogue in particular was superb--almost too clever. However, while the NYT talks about what a "less ambitious" author might have done with the ending, I must be in the category of the "less ambitious reader" because the uplifting ending is exactly what I was hoping for. There was so much sadness and heartache in the book, that I was hoping for some relief from the unrelenting tension by book's end. Granted, perhaps the author is to be credited for her unstinting devotion to realism as opposed to a trite Hollywood ending, but it sure made for depressing reading.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By chwu@ucsd.edu on June 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Shriver has again written a psychological drama and social commentary disguised as fiction. This book details the emotional life of two people both in fast-track careers of pro-tennis. Willy and Eric both exhibit the destructive and self-destructive behaviors of people who have made "Being the best" their top priority and the author uses this as the vehicle to expose the myth of "winners" and "losers" as well as exploring the tangled emotions that make up a close relationship between two people. She makes the connection that "winner" is sometimes only slightly separated from "loser" with a twist of self-confidence and luck. The bevy of characters are all very human and recognizable, twisting in their emotional quagmires, going through life the best they know how, as the rest of us do.
This is not an "easy" book to get through and it certainly is not fluffy reading but it is very well written and the insights are true gems telling of the human condition. This is not a book I could get through in one sitting, it took several months to slowly take in, one piece at a time. As with Ms. Shriver's other books the plot is almost incidental and relatively transparent, again describing "real life". It is more the way that she exposes and describes the very human interactions and emotions of the characters that take center stage. A well written book definitely worth reading.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By misseckles on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
After reading the powerful "We need to talk about Kevin" all other books seemed somehow inadequate and I was not able to finish a novel for months. However, I was thrilled to stumble across "Double Fault" written by the same extraordinary author. What a disappointment! Even for a complete tennis tragic this plot was boring and based on needless conflict. It was so appalling in every way that it's hard to believe that it was written by the same person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This book has a lot of edge. It starts like an idyllic romance
and ends like film noir. The transition occurs gracefully -- through
powerful writing, a well-crafted plot, and characters who act as
ugly (i.e., as human) as real people do. The guileless myth of the
trouble-free two-career marriage takes a beating, but it's about
time. Shriver's choice of pro tennis as the arena for the couple's
professional rivalry leavens the story considerably, but also makes
the pain Shriver articulates more vivid by contrast. While the
author's outlook may be grim, the story is constructive because it
offers a clear lesson. On the page, the tennis action is exciting
and deftly conveyed, so the book reads easily. All in all, a very
successful union of literary novel and psychodrama. I highly recommend this book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Lionel Shriver has confronted the demons from her own divorce several years before and written about her life with a power and a brave intimacy that is all too rare in modern fiction these days. I am not aware of the details of her divorce, but suspect that her husband was more interested in a help mate than an equal partner, and that when it became clear that she was not about to give fulfilling his needs priority over her career the relationship imploded. This was devastating to Ms. Shriver, who has finally taken the vital step of facing and vanquishing her demons in Double Fault. She changed many outward facts but it seems clear that the psychological structure she develops, crystallizes and shatters in Double Fault must bear close resemblance to her own experience, as the final fifty pages deliver a tone and depth of language that must be genuine. We shall see more honest, stalwart, hard hitting fiction from Ms. Shriver in the future as she continues to grow and gain confidence in her considerable literary talent.
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