Review: The New Republic by Lionel Shriver

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Title: The New Republic
Author: Lionel Shriver
Genre: Fiction
Pub. Date: March 27, 2012

I recently got around to reading We Need to Talk About Kevin which was fantastic, so I was excited to try another of Shriver's books when I had the opportunity to review this one. As other readers have mentioned, the author included a note in the beginning about how this book was written years ago (prior to Kevin) but was put on hold because of the lack of potential interest in a novel about terrorism followed by the actual act of terrorism that then rendered this book taboo; years later it was decided that this book would be released, and few changes were made to it. Unfortunately, that had me wondering, throughout reading, if maybe it being an older effort of the author's affected its quality as it was a difficult read for me that I did not enjoy. The topic did not offend me, but it's application was dry to me.

Edward Kellogg makes a mid-life career change to become a journalist. Much of his thoughts and decisions are motivated by his desire to be "cool" and admirable like those he has looked up to because of his "uncool" history as a kid. He ends up being assigned to Barba, near Portugal, where the previous journalist has gone missing, and uncovers scandal along with the terrorism.

The plot sounds interesting in theory but didn't maintain my interest. I also expected to find it funnier (togue-in-cheeck, I know) but I didn't. I think most of it may have been Kellogg, himself, who I found annoying from the get go. I wonder if the main character had been more sympathetic and likeable if the rest of what played out may have been funnier. I also think that the side story about Kellogg's history and wanting to be popular was unnecessary. As it was, I didn't care for it and was hugely disappointed because of my huge enjoyment of Kevin and all the other amazing things I have heard.

Catch up on and follow the rest of the tour below:

Tuesday, April 2nd: The House of the Seven Tails
Wednesday, April 3rd: Man of La Book
Monday, April 8th: The Scarlet Letter
Wednesday, April 10th: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Thursday, April 11th: she treads softly
Tuesday, April 16th: Becca’s Byline
Monday, April 22nd: Lit and Life
Wednesday, April 24th: Take Me Away
Thursday, April 25th: I Read a Book Once
Friday, April 26th: Luxury Reading
TBD: Melody & Words


Ti said...

Shriver's writing is hit or miss with me. I have her new one, Big Brother. I hope it's good.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have this one but haven't cracked it open yet. I truly enjoyed The Post Birthday World and Kevin (although enjoy may not be the right word), but reviews of her other work has scared me because she can have agendas.

Zibilee said...

I also have this one, and like Sandy said there are agendas in all of her books, but it comes with the territory. I read another review of this one yesterday, and it said basically what you shared, that it was not funny, and had an annoying lead. I will still read it, because I love Shriver, but I think my head is out of the cloud about it now. Very perceptive and natural review. I'm glad you were so honest about how this one didn't work for you.

heathertlc said...

Darn, I'm sorry you didn't love this one but thanks for your honest review for the tour.

Booksnyc said...

I have not yet read a Shriver book but am on the tour for Big Brother. Thanks for your honest review of this one.

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