Alisha's Reviews > The New Republic

The New Republic by Lionel Shriver
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Feb 24, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Read from March 04 to 06, 2012

I won this book from a first-reads contest on goodreads
Edgar gets tired of his life as a lawyer and decides he's going to do something more interesting, in the persuit of being adored. He's admired, and followed many people throughout his life that have had that special something that he feels he's lacking. After deciding to follow in one of his idols footsteps, he becomes a journalist. With a stroke of luck, his old idol Toby Falconer put in the good word with him and he lands a job in the terrorist infested Barba. In Barba Edgar finds out secrets he never imagined that have affected the entire world. In a twist, it soon becomes Edgar that is changing the world. However, will this power really give Edgar what he wanted, or has he been dreaming of something that could only cause misery?

Now for my feelings on the book. I felt like the first 200 pages or so really dragged, which is what brought this score down so low. Edgar was fairly uninteresting and childishly obsessed with popularity. Having never really cared what others thought of me, I find this sort of person fairly intolerable. Throughout most the book, I wanted to slap Edgar and tell him to grow up and stop caring what everyone thinks. Not only is Edgar whinny and annoying, he's also incredibly mean, he's always finding faults with others, and only a few are good enough for him to worship.
Eventually Edgar starts worshiping his departed predecessor Saddler, and things start to turn around at that point. Honestly, it took me awhile to really believe that Edgar was imagining Sadler, I thought that for sure no man could be having such a crazy obsession with another man as to imagine him into being. Edgar certainly managed it, because I soon found out that Saddler actually was a figment of his imagination. It was definitely a positive to the book to have the obsession turn into a delusion.

Edgar's decent into the shadowy world of crime and terrorism was also pretty interesting, I loved the way the whole thing played out. That two men playing a game could affect the world in such a way was brilliant. During this time, Edgar becomes more likeable as he finally gets his wish and starts to be popular with the other journalists. However, I thought it was pretty strange that a man as smart as him couldn't see where it was going to lead. Even Saddler understood what he was doing more then Edgar, because once again he came off as a child trying to justify his actions and play down the consequences.

Overall, I mostly enjoyed this book. I never did like the character of Edgar, although he finally found some enlightenment at the end. Saddler, and the other secondary characters were a lot more interesting a likeable then he was. The storyline was interesting, and certainly made me think at quite a few points.
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03/04/2012 page 165
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