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The Post-Birthday World Audiobook

The Post-Birthday World

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Publisher's Summary

Children's book illustrator Irina McGovern enjoys a quiet and settled life in London with her partner, fellow American expatriate Lawrence Trainer, a smart, loyal, disciplined intellectual at a prestigious think tank. To their small circle of friends, their relationship is rock solid, until the night Irina unaccountably finds herself dying to kiss another man: their old friend from South London, the stylish, extravagant, passionate top-ranking snooker player Ramsey Acton.

The decision to give in to temptation will have consequences for her career, her relationships with family and friends, and perhaps, most importantly, the texture of her daily life.

Hinging on a single kiss, this enchanting work of fiction depicts Irina's alternating futures with two men temperamentally worlds apart yet equally honorable. With which true love Irina is better off is neither obvious nor easy to determine, but Shriver's exploration of the two destinies is memorable and gripping. Poignant and deeply honest, written with the subtlety and wit that are the hallmarks of Shriver's work, The Post-Birthday World appeals to the what-if in us all.

©2008 Lionel Shriver; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The rewards for sticking with these 500-plus pages are as delicious as one of Irina's feasts." (The Washington Post)
"Best novel of '07." (Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (71 )
5 star
 (18)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.5 (43 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (44 )
5 star
 (18)
4 star
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3 star
 (5)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Francis Corpus Christi, TX, United States 03-29-11
    Francis Corpus Christi, TX, United States 03-29-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    102
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    "What is wrong with these people?"

    I cannot understand the negative reviews for this magnificent book. Lionel Shriver is one of the best writers working today, but, unfortunately, does not garner the plaudits and hype that fall to writers like Jonathon Franzen and (this year) Jennifer Egan. Both of these writers are great, but so is Shriver. Post-Birthday World is a challenging and completely engaging story of a woman faced with a critical life choice at a critical moment and Shriver takes us down both paths the woman could have chosen. Structurally, Post-Birthday world puts Shriver in good company with those other narrative benders, Egan and David Mitchell, but Shriver breathes such life and depth into her characters putting her on a level all her own. Read this book. Wow.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan D Somerset, NJ USA 12-04-10
    Susan D Somerset, NJ USA 12-04-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    5
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    "A terrific examinination of relationships"

    Unlike some other reviewers, I loved this book and thought the narrator was fine. Shriver's focus in this novel is the nature of relationships itself: how it is that so many of us seek happiness and cannot fully figure out when we have it, how we squander it, how we lose it, and how all of our choices, however small, change us. Who are we attracted to? How important is sex? How do we become different when we're with different kinds of people? Who, then, are we anyway? By examining parallel imaginative lives, this novel allows us to think harder and wiser about our own possibilities, decisions, and realities. Ironically, while the chapters end up shifting between 'black' and white' ??? as a way of dividing up the different lives ??? by the end, the entire conceit shows that while 'black' and 'white' are different, they're not about right or wrong, they're just about different paths. I might also add, that I got so addicted to listening to this novel , I also downloaded the Kindle version for the moments I had time to read even faster than I could listen.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ginette Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada 06-02-10
    Ginette Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada 06-02-10 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "best book I've read in years!"

    I just love Lionel Shriver. A few years ago I had read We need to talk about Kevin. This latest book didn't disappoint me in the least. I thought the concept highly original - the parallel stories about Irina's life had she succombed to the temptation and her life if she had been faithful to her chosen life, her husband. The book was funny, I found myself laughing out loud; it was analytical, very realistic and true to life I felt. It was sexy yet it wasn't superficial - a reflexion on married life, love, etc. A great book. Un coup de coeur as they say in French! I highly recommend it!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brit in Asheville ASHEVILLE, NC, United States 04-24-11
    Brit in Asheville ASHEVILLE, NC, United States 04-24-11 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great writing;disappointing story telling"

    I'm new to audible books and have quickly learned one lesson. A good read doesn't necessarily make good listening. The post birthday world has a central characted from south London, Hearing that accent in his speech is key. Disappointingly, this narrator has a completely unbeleivable English accent. I am English and could have forgiven an English accent from another region, but this is not recognizable. She makes Ramsey sound as if he lived half his life in a southern staate! Irritating to listen to and spoiled my enjoyment of the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lsweet Dallas, TX, US 07-02-10
    lsweet Dallas, TX, US 07-02-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "I couldn't finish it, which is unusual"

    I listened for about 5 hours and finally gave up trying to find something worth hearing. The author can turn a good phrase, so perhaps the problem was the reader -- monotonous, flat, very little inflection. I had to go back and relisten several times because I kept falling asleep.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Atlanta, GA, United States 08-07-10
    Emily Atlanta, GA, United States 08-07-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Horrible narrator"

    I enjoyed this book well enough. It was interesting, and although it was nothing to get too excited about, it kept me entertained. My main reason for rating this book three stars instead of four is the narrator. I found her distractingly bad. Especially when talking in the voice of the main character Irina, I thought her voice was obnoxiously whiny and it made me dislike the character. And while the narrator's voice was often whiny, her narration still somehow remained flat. I couldn't help but wonder if I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read it rather than listen to this horrible reading of it. At least she was pretty good at getting the accents right.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. James San Rafael, CA USA 07-10-16
    S. James San Rafael, CA USA 07-10-16 Member Since 2014
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    3
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    Story
    "It is a dual story"

    It would have been much more helpful to know that this is a story told in parallel- the results of two paths taken. I don't think this is at all obvious in the audio version- but I would have started enjoying the story much earlier- for awhile I was just not following...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tina STL, MO, United States 06-02-16
    Tina STL, MO, United States 06-02-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unique and Engrossing"
    What did you love best about The Post-Birthday World?

    Even though I'm not particularly interested in the themes of this novel...I absolutely love and respect Lionel Shriver as an author. She is like Donna Tartt meets Ann Patchett with a dash of William Boyd. I feel as if she's able to write with a remarkable vocabulary without sounding pretension nor contrived. The stories flow even if the plot structure isn't set around something that the reader doesn't relate to (i.e. "So Much for That", "We need to Talk about Kevin," "Big Brother"....) love them all!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wavybrownhair 03-17-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
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    Performance
    Story
    "Two stories for the price of one"

    I enjoyed the story and the narration.

    This book is basically about one woman's journey to a crossroad. We the audience get to enjoy her journey on both roads. This book really makes you think about pivotal life decisions and what you want out of life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katrina Verey 02-26-13 Member Since 2015
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    9
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great concept, but not well executed"

    Although I found the "What if..." premise of the book very interesting, the plot felt contrived. I was particularly disappointed by what I felt to be highly unrealistic mirroring of plot elements (from events to minor dialogue) in the two stories. I slogged through the second half of the book, hoping it would at least end with some thought-provoking ambiguity. Instead, the intended morals were essentially written out, and the ending felt depressing and fatalistic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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