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The New Republic

2.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,379 Ratings  ·  252 Reviews
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 lar ...more
Hardcover, 377 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Harper (first published January 1st 2012)
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B the BookAddict
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: moi!
Shelves: fiction

Published in 2012, The New Republic was completed in 1998 between Shriver's Double Fault and We Need to Talk About Kevin. While it does deal with the weighty issue of terrorism, it is probably the most comedic and witty of her novels. She is very respectful of the terrorism issue but she has a lot of fun with her characters. Set in an perversely quixotic country with a curious storyline, Shriver presents characters who are larger than life with brilliantly satirical dialogue.

Edgar has gone thro
Mar 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
Dear Lionel Shriver,


That sort of hurt my head a bit, Lionel. It started out interesting and zippy - full of potential. But then there was some really, really, really horrible writing:
Such a piercing whistle sang through window cracks that Edgar's headache was immediate. As the hump-fendered sedan galumphed down the road, it swayed in and out of lane, though the driver wrestled manfully with the wheel. Now and again a thud sounded against the doors as if a linebacker had assaulted the cab w
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've read everything Shriver has written and until 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' she was a very ordinary author at best. WNTTAK was brilliant and Post-Birthday World even better. Here was an incredibly talented author, a great intellect and a master prose stylist. Her book following Birthday World, "So Much For That" was a big disappointment, and not just because I expected more from Shriver - it simply had nothing to recommend it - plot, ideas, prose. So when "The New Republic" came out in 2012 ...more
Thomas Edmund
Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it
My review of this book could be easily summarised by the beginning author's note, revealing this novel was written two decades ago but remained unpublished until this point. Of course this is due to the theme being 'poisonous' at the time, and the 2012 audience, becoming more recpetive. Nothing to do with Shriver becoming an international bestseller in the meantime.

I hate to do this negative review because I loved ..Kevin and enjoyed So Much for That, but I suspect this novel wasn't published ea
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
In progress and generally enjoying despite being offended during an insomnia bout by a former prep school superstar saying "So I tossed it. I didn't apply to Yale or Harvard, but Haverford."
Updated: Like many, I came to "meet" Shriver in We Need to Talk About Kevin. Enjoyed is an odd word for such a dark novel, but I found it very well-done. As such, I jumped on the Shriver pick when it became available as an advance read from my lovely Harper pals. I wish I hadn't.

This is a novel about repo
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
What happens when a clutch of journalists is left in a remote posting with nothing to report? Might some of them be tempted to fabricate news or massage the truth to keep the paychecks coming and avoid being called home?

The New Republic is set on a fictional peninsula called Barba that is trying to gain independence from Portugal. Terrorist attacks all over the world have been claimed by the Soldiers of Barba, or "SOB." Barba residents are angry at the tide of Muslim immigrants flooding their t
Britta Böhler
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016, femlit
Only Shriver dares to make fun of terrorism.
Originally written in 1998, but unable to find a publisher, Shriver finally got her novel out in 2012 (after the success of We Need to Talk About Kevin). A prescient satire about terrorism and the unholy relation between terrorism and journalists, hilarious and dark-humoured. Michiko Kakutani hated it - there should be NO fun-making about terrorism - and called it a 'ghastly novel'. Which just about proves Shriver's point...
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
As she explains in her author's note, Lionel Shriver wrote this comic novel about terrorism in 1998, but was unable to sell it because of American lack of interest in terrorism. So now it's a novel set in an alternate past. I found it quite funny.

The main character Edgar is an unpleasant, chauvinistic guy who feels he's always second best. He's always jealously hero-worshiping someone else. Even though the character was a jerk and kept making poor decisions, I felt sympathetic to him and I was
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won-first-reads
I won't say that I loved this book, but I will say that I found it fascinating. I was completely enthralled by it. Ostensibly about pseudo-journalist turned pseudo-terrorist Edgar Kellogg, who is sent to a political backwater known for it's pungent fruit and gale force winds. His assignment is to cover the local terrorist group who has been making waves, while investigating the mysterious disappearance of his charismatic predecessor.

Originally written in the late 1990's and shelved for a decade
Alex Templeton
Dec 30, 2012 rated it liked it
This was one of the more frustrating novels I've read in a long time. I love Shriver's work generally, but this one...just...dragged. For a long time it was one of those dreaded books that sucks the joy out of reading for awhile, simply because you don't look forward to going back to it. Anyway. The first two-thirds of the book follow new journalist Edgar Kellogg as he lands an assignment in the (imaginary) backwater land of Barba, which is struggling from independence from Portugal. He casts ab ...more
Rod Raglin
Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it
As a journalist, I’ve been one of those who lived in anticipation of covering “a big story”, and when it happened; be it a natural disaster, horrific accident or multiple murder, almost gleefully sought out the gory details since the more casualties, the more dramatic the story, and the more likely my byline would appear on the front page.

Lionel Shriver, a journalist herself, knows this rush and how being in the right place at the right time can make a career, just as poor timing and bad luck (f
Mar 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Silly me, thinking We Need to Talk About Kevin would come out with another fantastic book, especially considering that her books have been increasingly bad since WNTTAK. This one fit into her recent need for political diatribes and was coupled with the worst of her writing - heavy dialogue, overt analysis interwoven into people's daily observations, lines that seem to be poised in front of a waiting audience. But worst of all is the leading man, or loser, Kellogg, who in his late thirties just w ...more
Mary Schumann
this book had a limited check-out time from the library and I tried hard to make it through. I got onto Lionel Shriver as most did with We Need to Talk about Kevin - I read that book in 12 hours and could not stop thinking about it (still can't!) this one I'm 2 weeks into and I just can't make it. I'm even having trouble sleeping because the plot enters my dreams and I feel as if she can't possibly be so obvious, and there must be some fabulous surprise ending that I will adore but at this point ...more
May 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
I chose this book because I so enjoyed the last two of hers I read: "So Much for That" and "We need to Talk About Kevin". But this one stinks. Notably, it was written before the other two and withheld from publication by the author till recently. She should have withheld it longer. I was her biggest fan, raving about the afore-mentioned.

But this one is a tedious tale of a bunch of unlikeable journalists posted in a small fictional country waiting for a continuation of terrorist activities to re
Apr 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
Actually to say I read this book is a lie. I read part of it and got so bored with it I stopped.

The characters were so annoying.

The plot never materialized (by page 120).

I didn't even get any sense of time or place and since the author had created the place, I think she could have put a bit more effort into helping readers picture it.

But mostly it was plain boring.
Stephen Gallup
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This novel is an earlier effort than Shriver's masterful We Need to Talk About Kevin , and to me her handling of the material felt just a little heavy-handed. But I didn't mind that. Her basic theme here--the interaction between larger-than-life people who have some kind of natural magnetism and their clingy sidekicks--deserves lots of serious attention.

All of his life, Edgar has been in the shadow of one or another figure that he (and others) have viewed as a Great Character. He has resented a
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I saw some reviews of this implying it wasn't a very good Shriver book - I have to disagree, this was a well written book with excellent characterisation and Lionel Shriver's highly readable prose.
As we have come to expect from Shriver, the topic is slightly unexpected and original, something I really value - not another predictable love/war story, or unreadable over-arty literati offering.
In this book a lawyer-turned-journalist, Edgar Kellogg, takes up his first posting in a far flung corner of
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it
My third? fourth? Lionel Shriver.

Got a little tiring towards the end, but here are my favourite parts:

"He thought they fell for a decoy. After all, when you love someone, what do you love? What's he good at? If a woman only loved your writing or your aptitude as a solicitor, you'd be disappointed. I think you could even make a distinction between a person and a personality. Barrington's retinue trotted after what he had. Not who he was."

"Edgar learned to scuba dive; he got bored with it. He lear
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
It's pure satire but it didn't make me laugh. Not because the absurd plot was about terrorism, but because I couldn't sympathize with any of the characters and got tired of the same bitter, knowing voice coming out of all of their mouths. Shriver's books are almost always at least thought-provoking, but I didn't get much out of this one.
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Thank God it's over! Starting ok enough but really became pretty ridiculous and insufferable
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book a good few years ago after spotting Shriver's name on the cover. Having read her work before I was eager to read more and since this novel had a grounding in Journalism it seemed perfect.

Since then it's languished in cupboards for a long, long time. I had started to read it a handful of times but couldn't get past the first few chapters.

This time I persevered and found that this is really a pretty remarkable novel with a message that carries well in today's world.

Given thou
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
If only she had gotten a more brutal editor in the 14 years that she sat on the book. It's kind of a fun concept, with lots of cleverness just verging on snarkiness. But oh my goodness it just went on and on and wouldn't move forward.

I do appreciate that she put on hold a book that mocks terrorism and the fear of terrorists. Too soon? For a while, it was.

The theme of being a second-best for life is interesting. Does everyone secretly yearn to be the center of attention? ( alas, just ask a brid
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although I struggled a little to get through this entire book (admittedly maybe because I was reading it at bedtime almost exclusively...), I still vastly appreciated the spot-on social satire. If you're reading this in the 2017 political climate, make sure you keep in mind the author's note: this book was originally written in 1998 and Shriver couldn't find a publisher at that time. Putting it "on ice" for years after 9/11 in order to avoid appearing glib about the tragedy, it was finally publi ...more
Wei Li
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel was more fun than it had any right to be considering its subject matter. There's much to like about it: its satirical take on terrorism, its dissection of human charisma, its sharp eye for keenly human characters that have you identifying with every character, the fully fleshed-out fictional country. What I found most impressive was the way the stakes kept rising - I found myself waiting to be disappointed, for the air to be let out of the balloon; a consequence of having seen one too ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is Lionel Shriver I thought, so it must be good. Mmmm yes it is LS, but this one didn't grab me. Written in 1998 it wasn't published till 2012 and maybe there was a reason for that. I read half before I realised I really didn't care about the characters, the place or the plot. I pushed on and speed read the rest but it didn't change my mind.
Thomas Edward
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
"If that's the way you choose to look at it, you may expiate away for the both of us. Might I recommend a catnap before we dine?" A meditation on the mystery of charisma (indifference is the greatest aphrodisiac) and on the ubiquity of "fake news."

Whatever you think of Lionel Shriver, she does not back down— no matter how unlikely a premise she follows it to the end.
Tricia Friedman
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wild ride, fantastic characters, and a fabulous look at the media and the consumer's relationship to it. This is so different to the rest of Shriver's work--and it points to the seemingly absent boundaries of her skill and talent.
Amy Meyer
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lionel Shriver has been on my list of authors who I’ve wanted to read for far too long. So, as is often the case, when TLC Book Tours provided me the opportunity to review Shriver’s most recent novel, The New Republic, I happily signed up. I didn’t enjoy The New Republic but I thought it was an interesting and well-written book. It’s about a few things: journalists and the lengths they’ll go to for a front-page story; terrorism and how it pervades every continent and country; politics and the me ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although written long ago, this novel is interesting in that it revolves around the very current concerns of terrorism and the media. This effort is not my favorite by this author, but nonetheless I enjoyed, as always, the tangential commentary and observations that are a hallmark of her style.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
In general I love Lionel Shriver's work, but this isn't one of her best.
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Lionel Shriver's novels include the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin, which won the 2005 Orange Prize and has now sold over a million copies worldwide. Earlier books include Double Fault, A Perfectly Good Family, and Checker and the Derailleurs. Her novels have been translated into twenty-five languages. Her journalism h ...more
More about Lionel Shriver...
“If Edgar sounded overeager, even rushed, the race was with his own temperament. He placed a premium on savvy. Yet since you could only obtain new information by admitting you didn’t know it already, savvy required an apprenticeship as a naive twit. You had to ask crude, obvious questions…you had to sit still while worldly-wise warhorses…fired withering glances as if you were born yesterday.

Well, Edgar was born yesterday for the moment, although his tolerance for being treated liked a simpleton was in short supply. He’d needed to rattle off a multitude of stupid questions before he embraced his next incarnation as an insider. The trouble was that savvy coated your brain in plastic like a driver’s license: nothing more could get in. Hence the point at which you decided you knew everything was exactly the point at which you became an ignorant dipshit.”
“Couples stray,” said Edgar. “Part of the breaking-in process.”

“Not breaking in, breaking.” Nicola differed sharply. “You can glue people together again. But then your relationship’s like any other repaired object, with cracks, blobs of epoxy, a little askew. It’s never the same. I can see you haven’t a notion what I’m on about, so you’ll have to take my word for it.”

“Christ, you’re a babe in the woods.” Edgar stopped slicing tomatoes. “You got it ass-backward. A marriage perched like porcelain on the mantelpiece is doomed. Sooner or later grown-ups treat each other like shit. You gotta be able to kick the thing around, less like china than an old shoe—bam, under the bed, or walk it through some puddles. No love’s gonna last it if can’t take abuse.”
More quotes…