Lionel Shriver “Kilifi Creek” in The New Yorker

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.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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