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The New Republic: A Novel Hardcover – March 27, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1St Edition edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780062103321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062103321
  • ASIN: 0062103326
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,693,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“[Shriver’s] whip-smart observations—about relationships, the role of the media, the cult of personality are funny and on the mark.” (People)

“In her latest novel, Lionel Shriver pays homage to Joseph Conrad—examining terrorism, media bloodlust, and the cult of personality through an unexpected lens of satire.” (Marie Claire, Four New Page-Turners to Keep Bedside)

“A very funny book, but the laughs are embedded in a deeply disturbing subject.” (NPR, "Weekend Edition")

“Shriver is cursed with knowing the human animal all too well. The New Republic is satire of a Shriver kind, that is to say biting.” (Miami Herald)

“Lionel Shriver, the author of the harrowing and patient We Need to Talk About Kevin, delivers something altogether different: a callous and romping political and journalistic satire.” (The Daily Beast-- This Week's Hot Reads)

“Shriver is one of the sharpest talents around.” (USA Today)

“Witty, caustic and worldly, [Shriver] is a raconteur who could show even Barrington Saddler a thing or two about entertaining a crowd.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Shriver has been a National Book Award finalist with good reason: Her page-turners examine serious issues.” (Reader's Digest Recommends)

“A wondrously fanciful plot, vividly drawn characters, clever and cynical dialogue, and a comically brilliant and verisimilar imagined land. . . . The New Republic is simply terrific.” (Booklist (starred review))

“The dialogue zings and the writing is jazzy. . . . [Shriver] can toss off a sharp sketch of a passing character in a phrase, and she’s got a gimlet eye for what’s phony, or affected, or even touchingly vain in human behavior.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Shriver is an incisive social satirist with a clear grip on the ironies of our contemporary age . . . [Her] take on journalism and international politics is wry, insightful and just over the top enough to be fun.” (Los Angeles Times)

“[Shriver] is uncannily perceptive[with a] vigorous capacity for compassion . . . [A] surprisingly tender novel disguised as a clever satire delivered in polished prose.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

“Part Scoop, part Our Man in Havana and part Len Deighton thriller, Shriver’s novel is not just about terrorism but also about journalism and the nature of charisma. . . . Shriver’s Barba is a wonderful creation.” (Financial Times)

From the Back Cover

Ostracized as a kid, Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular. A disgruntled New York corporate lawyer, he's more than ready to leave his lucrative career for the excitement and uncertainty of journalism. When he's offered the post of foreign correspondent in a Portuguese backwater that has sprouted a homegrown terrorist movement, Edgar recognizes the disappeared larger-than-life reporter he's been sent to replace, Barrington Saddler, as exactly the outsize character he longs to emulate. Infuriatingly, all his fellow journalists cannot stop talking about their beloved "Bear," who is no longer lighting up their work lives.

Yet all is not as it appears. Os Soldados Ousados de Barba—"The Daring Soldiers of Barba"—have been blowing up the rest of the world for years in order to win independence for a province so dismal, backward, and windblown that you couldn't give the rat hole away. So why, with Barrington vanished, do terrorist incidents claimed by the "SOB" suddenly dry up?

A droll, playful novel, The New Republic addresses weighty issues like terrorism with the deft, tongue-in-cheek touch that is vintage Shriver. It also presses the more intimate question: What makes particular people so magnetic, while the rest of us inspire a shrug? What's their secret? And in the end, who has the better life—the admired, or the admirer?

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

It's a book that I could easily dismiss as no more than a novel by a writer I know can do much better.
Neal Reynolds
I just couldn't enjoy this book, I don't need to relate to characters, it's ok with me if they're not likable, but these weren't even interesting.
D. Quinn
I thought it was well-written, with an interesting plot and characters you may not consistently care for but in whose lives you are interested.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. Quinn on March 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I read "We Need to Talk About Kevin' several years ago, I couldn't put it down and I couldn't stop talking about it. I passed it along to friends and family, I recommended it to a book club, I wanted everyone to read and experience Shriver's unbelievably moving prose. Her characters and their emotions were truly alive, and I was engaged. When the opportunity for an advance copy of this 'old but new' book, 'The New Republic', I jumped, I couldn't wait to read another riveting Shriver tale. How sad to be so disappointed.

The premise behind the book is an interesting and relevant one: the real nature of journalism, and the power of the media to manipulate a story for its own purposes. Add to the mix a fictional, miserable corner of Portugal and the local terrorist group seeking independence for the people of Barba, and you have the potential for a humorous tale. Edgar Kellogg is our main character, a lawyer-turned-journalist and former fat kid whose inability to connect with other humans has left him floundering in his mid-thirties, still yearning for popularity and the approval of his peers. With a stroke of luck, Edgar lands a job as a stringer for a national paper and is sent to Barba to cover the terrorist activity and the disappearance of a revered journalist - once there, Edgar begins to see that all is not as it appears.

I just couldn't enjoy this book, I don't need to relate to characters, it's ok with me if they're not likable, but these weren't even interesting. I thought the first half of the book could have been cut in half again, which might have helped move along the fairly light plot, and perhaps made the mild twists a little more shocking. As it was, I felt bogged down in the characters' pretentious speak, and unable to engage with the story.

Shriver is a gifted and clever writer, and I look forward to reading something else from her - this just was not the book for me.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Keymer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The New Republic is in part a satirical riff on journalism and journalists and in other parts, a Black comedy about terrorism. Edgar Kellogg used to be fat but now is thin. He still thinks of himself as fat, however. That knowledge has driven him all his life: he wants to be popular but is convinced ahead of time that he's always going to be second best. In defense, he blows off the people he meets before they get the chance to blow him off. And now, in his mid-thirties and trying to jumpstart his career in journalism, Edgar is sent to the Portuguese province of Barba as a stringer for a third-rate New York newspaper. He replaces a legendary journalist who was beloved by all but seems to have made up stories when he couldn't find enough evidence to write them otherwise.

Barba, situated at the extreme southern tip of Portugal, is ... there's no question ... a hole. Blistering winds blow non-stop across its barren lands. It has no industry, no culture or architecture, precious little in any of the other amenities of life. The province has one native crop, the hairy-pear. It's "something like a kiwi on testosterone." It falls apart in your hands when you try to pick it up and it smells so bad that you want to vomit. The natives make a beer from it but, no surprise, it's close to undrinkable, redeemed only by its high alcohol content.
Barba, of course, doesn't exist, except in the fertile imagination of the author, but in this alternate history, Barba does have one thing that draws the attention of correspondents from across the globe. Its own terrorist group.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melanchthon VINE VOICE on March 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In a sort of satirical Heart of Darkness, a lawyer turned would-be journalist packs his bags for a (makebelieve) country with a terrorist movement, on the trail of a disappeared journalist whom everyone knows. As he reaches the country, moves into the disappeared man's apartment, integrates himself into his circle of colleagues, and starts covering the terrorist movement, he discovers things about himself and the disappeared journalist. When it all blows up in his face, he comes to terms with: what? That wasn't entirely clear to me.

The plot summary portion of this review is intentionally cryptic because saying anything more would spoil the plot; on the other hand, it's probably obvious to anyone who reads more than two books a month what the plot is going to be. The point of the book seemed to be satirize the behavior of the journalists whose reporting fills the pages of the international news and political media -- and those media themselves -- but satire is supposed to make us think and this satire just makes us scoff. OK, everyone's an idiot, and especially media mavens, but do we need hundreds of pages of that? We don't learn anything from this satire -- I felt dirtied, unedified by it, as opposed to amused or instructed insightfully. In particular the cutesy puns on the names of the terrorist group tire the reader out about thirty pages in. I struggled to finish this, and that I did is probably owing to the fact that the book stuck persistently to the front seat of my car so it presented itself when I was going into restaurants and other activities where I was going to need something to read.
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