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Big Brother: A Novel
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HarperCollins 2013
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Description

Big Brother is a striking novel about siblings, marriage, and obesity from Lionel Shriver, the acclaimed author the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin.

For Pandora, cooking is a form of love. Alas, her husband, Fletcher, a self-employed high-end cabinetmaker, now spurns the "toxic" dishes that he'd savored through their courtship, and spends hours each day to manic cycling. Then, when Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at the airport, she doesn't recognize him. In the years since they've seen one another, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened? After Edison has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: It's him or me.
Rich with Shriver's distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat: an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much sacrifice we'll make to save single members of our families, and whether it's ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/04/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062199263
ASIN:
B009NFHBQE
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Lionel Shriver. (2013). Big Brother: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Lionel Shriver. 2013. Big Brother: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Lionel Shriver, Big Brother: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Lionel Shriver. Big Brother: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:29:37
Date Updated:
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        Lionel Shriver's fiction includes The Mandibles; Property; the National Book Award finalist So Much for That; the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World; and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin, adapted for a 2010 film starring Tilda Swinton. Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. She's a regular columnist for the Spectator in Britain and Harper's Magazine in the US. She lives in London and Brooklyn, New York.

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Big Brother is a striking novel about siblings, marriage, and obesity from Lionel Shriver, the acclaimed author the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin.

For Pandora, cooking is a form of love. Alas, her husband, Fletcher, a self-employed high-end cabinetmaker, now spurns the "toxic" dishes that he'd savored through their courtship, and spends hours each day to manic cycling. Then, when Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at the airport, she doesn't recognize him. In the years since they've seen one another, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened? After Edison has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: It's him or me.
Rich with Shriver's distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat: an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much sacrifice we'll make to save single members of our families, and whether it's ever...

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fullDescription

Big Brother is a striking novel about siblings, marriage, and obesity from Lionel Shriver, the acclaimed author the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin.

For Pandora, cooking is a form of love. Alas, her husband, Fletcher, a self-employed high-end cabinetmaker, now spurns the "toxic" dishes that he'd savored through their courtship, and spends hours each day to manic cycling. Then, when Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at the airport, she doesn't recognize him. In the years since they've seen one another, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened? After Edison has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: It's him or me.
Rich with Shriver's distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat: an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much sacrifice we'll make to save single members of our families, and whether it's ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Post
      • content:

        "As a writer, Shriver's talents are many: She's especially skilled at playing with readers's reflexes for sympathy and revulsion, never letting us get too comfortable with whatever firm understanding we think we have of a character." — Washington Post

        "The moving (and shocking) finale will have you thinking about the 'byzantine emotional mathematics' we all put ourselves through when overwhelmed with family responsibilities." — Oprah.com

        "(A) delicious, highly readable novel . . . (which) raises challenging questions about how much a loving person can give to another without sacrificing his or her own well-being." — People, People Pick (4 Stars)

        "Big Brother is vintage Shriver - observant, unsettling, funny, but also, as Pandora admits, 'Very, very sad.'" — Miami Herald

        "Lionel Shriver's Big Brother has the muscle to overpower its readers. It is a conversation piece of impressive heft." — New York Times

        "The ever-caustic Shriver has great fun at the expense of crash diets and a host of other sacred pop-culture, er, cows. Politically correct it's not, but Big Brother finds the funny - and the pathos - in fat." — USA Today

        "Her [Shriver's] best work—Big Brother is her twelfth novel—presents characters so fully formed that they inhabit her ideas rather than trumpet them." — New Republic

        "Pandora is a masterly creation." — New York Times Book Review

        "The diet - the story of a heroically undertaken significant change - is pretty nearly irresistible. But what really powers this story, an outsize look at the most basic of human activities, eating, is a search for the definition, and appreciation, of 'ordinary life.'" — Minneapolis Star Tribune

        "The latest compelling, humane and bleakly comic novel from the author of We Need to Talk about Kevin." — Evening Standard (London)

        "A great plot setup that presents an array of targets for Shriver to obliterate with her knife-sharp prose." — The Rumpus

        "A surprising sledgehammer of a novel" — The Times (London)

        "A gutsy, heartfelt novel" — Sunday Times (London)

        "What would you do for love of a brother? For love of a husband? For love of food? In Big Brother, Shriver's new and wonderfully timely novel, her heroine wrestles with these vexing questions. Only the scales don't lie." — Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

        "The fellowship of Lionel Shriver fanatics is about to grow larger, so to speak. Big Brother, a tragicomic meditation on family and food, may be her best book yet." — Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

        "A searing, addictive novel about the power and limitations of food, family, success, and desire. Shriver examines America's weight obsession with both razor-sharp insight and compassion." — J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine and Commencement

        "Brilliantly imagined, beautifully written, and superbly entertaining, Shriver's novel confronts readers with the decisive question: can we save our loved ones from themselves? A must-read for Shriver fans, this novel will win over new readers as well." — Library Journal

        "An intelligent meditation...

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 11, 2013
        Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) returns to the family in this intelligent meditation on food, guilt, and the real (and imagined) debts we owe the ones we love. Ex-caterer Pandora has made it big with a custom doll company that creates personal likenesses with pull-string, sometimes crude, catch phrases. The dolls speak to the condition of these characters—all trapped in destructive relationships with food (and each other): Pandora cooks to show love, to the delight of her compulsively fit husband Fletcher, whose refusal to eat dairy or vary from his biking routine are the outward manifestation of his remove. Pandora’s brother Edison eats to ease the pain of a stalled music career and broken marriage. And both live somewhat uncomfortably in the shadow of their father’s TV fame. In Big Brother, nothing reveals character more scathingly than food. Early in the book, the nearly 400-pound Edison arrives—waddling through an Iowa airport with a “ground eating galumph”—a man transformed in the four years since his sister last saw him. He brings the novel energy as well as an occasionally unpalatable maudlin drama. But Pandora will risk everything, including her own health, to save him. If this devotion and Pandora’s increasing success with Edison’s diet plan sometimes seem chirpily false, a late reveal provides devastating justification. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, Inkwell Management.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 15, 2013

        Pandora hasn't seen her older brother, Edison, a hip New York jazz musician, in four years. When she picks him up at an Iowa airport, he gives her the shock of her life: Edison has gained over 200 pounds and is unrecognizable. His visit is an intrusion into Pandora's home, which she shares with her fitness-freak husband, Fletcher, and her two adopted children. National Book Award finalist and New York Times best-selling novelist Shriver (So Much for That; We Need To Talk About Kevin) is known for her unstinting scrutiny of timely topics. Now she confronts the social but also painfully private issue of obesity through sibling relationships and marriage. However, the novel is essentially about fat--the nature of our relationship to food, why we overeat, and whether crash diets really work. As Fletcher becomes incensed with his brother-in-law's appalling eating habits, slovenly appearance, and careless behavior, he gives Pandora an ultimatum: it's him or me. VERDICT Brilliantly imagined, beautifully written, and superbly entertaining, Shriver's novel confronts readers with the decisive question: can we save our loved ones from themselves? A must-read for Shriver fans, this novel will win over new readers as well. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 12/9/12.]--Lisa Block, Atlanta

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from April 1, 2013
        A woman is at a loss to control her morbidly obese brother in the latest feat of unflinching social observation from Shriver (The New Republic, 2012, etc.). Pandora, the narrator of this smartly turned novel, is a happily settled 40-something living in a just-so Iowa home with her husband and two stepchildren and running a successful business manufacturing custom dolls that parrot the recipient's pet phrases. Her brother, Edison, is a New York jazz pianist who's hit the skids, and when he calls hoping to visit for a while, she's happy to assist. But she's aghast to discover he's ballooned from a trim 163 to nearly 400 pounds. Edison can be a pretentious blowhard to start with, and his weight makes him an even more exasperating houseguest, clearing out the pantry, breaking furniture and driving a wedge in Pandora's marriage. So Pandora concocts a scheme: She'll move out to live with Edison while monitoring his crash diet of protein-powder drinks. The book is largely about weight and America's obesity epidemic; Shriver writes thoughtfully about our diets and how our struggle to find an identity tends to lead us toward the fridge, and she describes our fleshy flaws with a candor that marks much of her fiction. But the book truly shines as a study of family relationships. As Pandora spends a year as Edison's cheerleader, drill sergeant and caregiver, Shriver reveals the complex push and pull between siblings and has some wise and troubling things to say about guilt, responsibility and how what can seem like tough love is actually overindulgence. The story's arc flirts with a cheeriness that's unusual for her, but a twist ending reassures us this is indeed a Shriver novel and that our certitude is just another human foible. A masterful, page-turning study of complex relationships among our bodies, our minds and our families.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 1, 2013
        Shriver continues her fictional inquiry into the timely topic of obesity, launched in the The New Republic (2012), with a novel about how weight problems can alter the dynamics of a family in devastating ways. Pandora is a successful entrepreneur living in Iowa with her uptight husband, Fletcher. Pandora's brother, Edison, is a once-popular jazz pianist in New York who can no longer pay his rent. Against Fletcher's wishes, Pandora sends Edison a plane ticket to Iowa; when he arrives, she almost doesn't recognize him owing to the hundreds more pounds he carries than when she last saw him. Edison's slovenly habits disgust Fletcher, a nutritional Nazi, so when Pandora commits to helping Edison lose all those pounds, the siblings move to an apartment nearby. Shriver creates suspense by adroitly involving the reader in Pandora's effort to help her brother, and as in previous novels, she injects an unexpected twist at the end, which some readers may find annoying rather than clever. Nevertheless, Shriver brilliantly explores the strength of sibling bonds versus the often more fragile ties of marriage.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

subtitle
A Novel
popularity
242
publisher
HarperCollins
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