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 larger-than-life reporter he's been sent to replace, Barrington Saddler, as exactly the outsize character he longs to emulate. Infuriatingly, all his fellow journalists cannot stop talking about their beloved "Bear", who is no longer lighting up their work lives.
Yet all is not as it appears. Os Soldados Ousados de Barba - "The Daring Soldiers of Barba" - have been blowing up the rest of the world for years in order to win independence for a province so dismal, backward, and windblown that you couldn't give the rat hole away. So why, with Barrington vanished, do terrorist incidents claimed by the "SOB" suddenly dry up?
A droll, playful novel, The New Republic addresses such weighty issues as terrorism with the deft, tongue-in-cheek touch that is vintage Shriver. It also presses the more intimate question: What makes particular people so magnetic, while the rest of us inspire a shrug? What's their secret? And in the end, who has the better life - the admired, or the admirer?
Lionel Shriver's books cover a wide variety of topics, but I think she's strongest when writing about families and relationships (Big brother, We need to talk about Kevin, the Post Birthday World) and weakest when trying to ironically address serious issues (this and Game Control) While the premise is amusing, the story drags and the end is insipid and annoying.
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Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
Probably not. It's the least favorite of Lionel shriver"s books, for me.
What could Lionel Shriver have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Nothing. The writing is superb. The subject matter didn't interest me.
Which scene was your favorite?
The part here the main character's illsuions about his icon are shattered. Can't be too specific because I don't remember.
Could you see The New Republic being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Sure. It would be on Showtime or HBO. I see Rupert Everett as being the star.
Any additional comments?
I like it better when Lionel Shriver's narrator is a woman.