I frankly had no idea who Lionel Shriver is, so I read the story completely cold. I quite enjoyed it. The theme, of the way we become aware of our adult selves emerging, and awareness of our life-projects emerging, is a bit heavy-handed. But the characters are very nicely drawn, as is the slightly skewed understanding they have (the two Kenyan hosts and their young risk-taker), and I liked how as a “middle” woman, she still has a hard time “reading” her friend. Indeed, the causal chain is almost too direct: she isn’t sure quite how to read him, so she tries to send a non-verbal signal – both to him and to herself (she does it because this is the kid of person she thinks she is) – and the result is… well you have to read the story. Over at Mookse, plenty of Shriver-haters (I guess she wrote We Need to Talk About Kevin), and some great analysis of the story.
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