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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    25
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    12

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    23
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    19
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    6
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    8
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    4

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan D
  • Somerset, NJ USA
  • 12-04-10

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ginette
  • Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
  • 06-02-10

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • lsweet
  • Dallas, TX, US
  • 07-02-10

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars

Oh my god. That accent!

I was so looking forward to listening to this book. I only got an hour in. The narrator was HORRENDOUS especially her 'english accent' which sounded like someone from Nebraska with a Cockney twang every 8th word. UGH! The word is Sn oo ker not snuckah. I want my money back :(

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tina
  • STL, MO, United States
  • 06-02-16

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • F. Turner
  • Corpus Christi, TX United States
  • 03-29-11

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Emily
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 08-07-10

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Mind-numbingly shallow, tedious drivel

I had to read this for a book club, otherwise I wouldn’t have finished it.
Let me sum it up for y’all: Spineless woman splits her life into parallel universes with two hideous men, both treat her like crap, nothing ever happens except vapid, endless drivel about her relationships (throws wrist to forehead in feigned emotional spell) with one and then the other, alternating lives between the two yet repeating the same vapid arguments with one and then the other, chapter after chapter after chapter, over and over again until you want to claw your ears off your head just to make it stop.
Somehow she never wakes up to the fact that there are other men on the planet besides these two jerks....or better yet, never realizes that being single is “a thing” in the twentieth century.
Ending is confusing at best, leaves the reader thinking “why the hell did I keep reading this crap if NOTHING EVEN HAPPENS IN THE END??”

I read about a book a week and I can say without question that this is the worst book I’ve ever read. Everrrrr.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Good idea poorly executed

The main character was just frustrating?! She never fully expressed herself and that is what held the book back. Also the book is extremely long had to skip a couple of chapter's of scenes towards the end.