Errol convinces Gray to return to the site of her first triumph - Kenya, where she had discovered an isolated tribe of Masai who worshipped American World War II deserter Charles Corgi as a god. While there, they meet Raphael Sarasola, a 24-year-old graduate assistant whose dark good looks and insolent manner make him a double for the dead Corgi. And as Errol watches, amazed and injured, Gray falls in love.
From its exotic beginning to its chilling end, The Female of the Species is a hypnotic, beautifully written novel. Through Errol, Raphael, and Gray, Lionel Shriver explores love in all its desperation.
©2009 Lionel Shriver; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"From beginning to end, The Female of the Species is intelligent, sensual, absolutely fascinating and thoroughly extraordinary. And that's not half the praise it deserves." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
While this is totally different from Lionel Shriver's other books that I have read (We need to talk about Kevin, The Post-Birthday World), it is indeed an interesting read. It's a great story about undying friendship - Errol's unrequited love for Gray. But it's also a woman's life story, that of a respected woman, a scholar, who devoted her entire life to her career and never strayed off course except much later in life when she falls for a younger man. It's sad to see how for the love of this man, Gray will cast aside everything which was important for her in her life.. sad to see an aging person stoop so low but Lionel Shriver is decidedly a keen observer of human nature. The proof lies in the diversity of her characters and stories. Of course she writes very well, can spin a tale and the interest of the reader never wavers!
I LOVE Lionel Shriver's work. We Have to Talk About Kevin is a masterpiece. The Post Birthday World is the most intriguing, involving novel I've read in years. So Much For That was only a small step down from her usual brilliance. The Female of the Species is a not-so-good novel completely destroyed by its narrator. The novel is disconnected, a pastiche of half-realized characters bumping into each other. The analysis of relationships, usually so incisive in Shriver's work, is superficial. I'd like to think a good narrator might have saved it, but Fred Stella fell very short. He treats the entire book with an ironic tone that would be perfectly suitable if he were reading P.G. Wodehouse. Shriver's use of carefully-targeted irony; strained, often unbearable relationships; and spurts of telling violence require a much more versatile, more nuanced voice.
Loved other Lionel Shriver work and assumed I would enjoy this one. Didnt. Very dull.
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