I’m a huge Lionel Shriver fan – difficult, divisive, dark and absolutely enthralling.
My sister and her friend and I trade Shriver novels and can talk about them endlessly. I have often thought that I’d like to belong not to a book club but to a Lionel Shriver book club. Although not my favourite of Shriver’s books, the film adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin, starring Tilda Swinton sounds very promising indeed. This is the book Shriver wrote when she explored for herself whether she ever wanted to be a mother. She decided not.
I think Kevin has attracted an audience because my narrator, Eva, allows herself to say all those things that mothers are not supposed to say. She experiences pregnancy as an invasion. When her newborn son is first set on her breast, she is not overwhelmed with unconditional love; to her own horror, she feels nothing. She imputes to her perpetually screaming infant a devious intention to divide and conquer her marriage. Eva finds caring for a toddler dull, and is less than entranced by drilling the unnervingly affectless, obstreperous boy with the ABC song. Worst of all, Eva detects in Kevin a malign streak that moves her to dislike him.
Here’s a link to The Guardian’s review for the film:
It is a movie which is a skin-peelingly intimate character study and a brilliantly nihilist, feminist parable: what happens when smart progressive career women give birth to boys: the smirking, back-talking, weapon-loving competitive little beasts that they have feared and despised since their own schooldays?
I want to see this film!