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Ostracized as a kid Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular A disgruntled New York corporate lawyer he's 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 livesYet 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 weighty issues like terrorism with the deft tongue in cheek touch that is vintage Shriver It also presses the intimate uestion 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?

10 thoughts on “The New Republic

  1. says:

    Published in 2012 The New Republic was completed in 1998 between Shriver's Double Fault and We Need to Talk About Kevin While it does deal with the weighty issue of terrorism it is probably the most comedic and witty of her novels She is very respectful of the terrorism issue but she has a lot of fun with her characters Set in an perversely uixotic country with a curious storyline Shriver presents characters who are larger than life with brilliantly satirical dialogue Edgar has gone through life so far being an admirer when really he want to be admired So at 37 he chucks his job as a lawyer and after six months gets a stint as a reporter chasing the story of a reporter gone missing in Barba a backwater in Portugal This is where Shriver's ironic wit begin to show and for me the fun begins Barba is home to the SOB 'Soldiers of Barba' who have been claiming responsibility for a series of recent terrorist attacks around the world It's a wretched place dismal with nearly gale force winds all year round and it's only product is the hairy pear The SOB have been uiet for the same amount of time as Barrington Saddler the reporter Edgar has been sent to track down has been missing And Barba is being run by Tomas Verdade who will neither confirm nor deny whether his political party is in fact the SOB Edgar finds a group of world weary reporters all of whom revere Sadler and Edgar is soon heartily sick of the sound of the man And he is thwarted at every turn by Verdade and ironically by Sadler Edgar finds himself living in Sadler's house looking for Sadler and has been befriended by Sadler's lover Shriver says “Post 911 Americans became if anything too interested in terrorism Thus for years after the calamity of New York I was obliged to put the book on ice because a book that treated this issue with a light touch would have been perceived as in poor taste Yet the taboo seems to have run its course Sensibilities have grown robust I am hopeful that this novel – whose themes have become only trenchant since it was written – can now see print without giving offense” The New Republic is part parable and part adventure story but it also addresses the topics What does make certain people magnetic? And which situation is better being an the admirer or being the one who is the admired? Shriver displays a superlative tongue in cheek manner adeptly witty and mischievous a side to the author not often seen I hope she had as many laugh out loud moments writing it as I had reading it She displays an inordinate sense of irony here and I imagine she hopes you will appreciate same In the acknowledgements she refers to The New Republic as a “boy book written by a girl” this girl Goodreader had an awfully good time reading it Highly Recommended 4★

  2. says:

    Dear Lionel ShriverUghThat sort of hurt my head a bit Lionel It started out interesting and zippy full of potential But then there was some really really really horrible writing Such a piercing whistle sang through window cracks that Edgar's headache was immediate As the hump fendered sedan galumphed down the road it swayed in and out of lane though the driver wrestled manfully with the wheel Now and again a thud sounded against the doors as if a linebacker had assaulted the cab with a running tackle Here are the book's pros1 You are great at writing the opposite sex It was believable and seamless2 You come up with very interesting ideas3 Your sense of the absurd is spot on4 You're funny5 You are Lionel fucking ShriverHere are the cons1 You completed this manuscript in 1998 and the version published this month is nearly exactly the same as the original manuscript It felt very dated and clunky and could have been improved monumentally2 It became predictable3 Moments of the novel were painful to read Like really amateur stuff To the point that less than 80 pages from the end I debated chucking the whole thing4 Given the strength of We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Post Birthday World this really seemed like a dirtshow dressed up with pearls and finger's crossed nobody notices otherwise5 YOU ARE LIONEL FUCKING SHRIVERSighIt hurts my heart to give this only one starI do love you Lionel But sometimes tough love is needed You can do way way way better I know it And I suspect you do tooSincerely yoursJenniferedited 17oct12 and i am not alone in my thinking

  3. says:

    A strange book It was written as Shriver tells us in a very confident if not arrogant afterword well before 9 11 but attracted no interest then due Shriver says to a lack of interest in terrorism After 9 11 the book's satirical nature Shriver uses the words funny and playful but the book is anything but made it unpublishable She admits her own fame with Kevin also made publication easier The treatment of terrorism is interesting Shriver clearly believes strongly that terrorists are given too much attention and influence she rails against the way that one failed shoe bomber affects aircraft passengers globally and indefinitely by prolonging security checks and makes the assertion that were terrorists to ask for achievable goals rather than a worldwide caliphate the West would capitulate However a number of areas mar the book the satire is often clumsy and jars with the book's basic unpleasantness not of the subject matter but of the almost universally unlikeable characters and often nasty and pointed dialogue internal dialogue and descriptions; the characters are an unconvincing mix of English and American mannerisms with almost Dick van Dyke level of authenticity of the English; the basic premise of huge unclaimed atrocities simply doesn't correspond to reality; the other theme the reasons for charisma the burden of being popular is forced uninteresting and unconvincing

  4. says:

    I've read everything Shriver has written and until 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' she was a very ordinary author at best WNTTAK was brilliant and Post Birthday World even better Here was an incredibly talented author a great intellect and a master prose stylist Her book following Birthday World So Much For That was a big disappointment and not just because I expected from Shriver it simply had nothing to recommend it plot ideas prose So when The New Republic came out in 2012 I held my breathe had LS exhausted her brilliance on those two earlier novels? Then it turned out she actually wrote New Republic in 1998 but didn't try to get it published until 2012 Well it's back to LS at her best witty and savagely funny bursting with provactive ideas great prose and challenging vocabulary Those people who read this as a satire on journalism are missing the point though it is a good satire on journalism It is actually a satire on terrorism Who but a rebellious spirit like LS would try that and succeed with it Perhaps it's easier for a non American to see how successfully she challenges so many of the now accepted truths about terrorism and terrorists I'm a Canadian But my American friends you really have been brainwashed by your government This book stands with 1984 in using fiction to reveal the dangers to individual freedom posed by governments controlled by true believers and shallow intellects aided and abetted by a bottom line oriented media

  5. says:

    My review of this book could be easily summarised by the beginning author's note revealing this novel was written two decades ago but remained unpublished until this point Of course this is due to the theme being 'poisonous' at the time and the 2012 audience becoming recpetive Nothing to do with Shriver becoming an international bestseller in the meantimeI hate to do this negative review because I lovedKevin and enjoyed So Much for That but I suspect this novel wasn't published earlier is simply because It is not a very good novelThe themes of terrorism and social cult of personality's jarr together despite in theory being ideal partners Our cynical protag Edgar is relate able but uncompelling and the clunky prose makes a 400ish page novel feel like George RR MartinAll in all Shriver almost creates something special here a fun poking piece that could've been the modern catch 22 Instead we have a mash of humour philosophical2017 WTF I've already read this book? I seriously didn't remember a single word wow I'm getting old2017's review According to the foreword I confess I'm always interested to hear the the backstory of the actual story The New Republic was written in the 90's when no one cared about terrorism but was too irreverent to be published in the 00's and thusly was published when Shriver's fame met with appropriate cultural timing post 911Firstly I must confess I didn't feel the tale was that hard hitting to really be bothered Perhaps the topical jokes would have fallen on deaf ears or been too on the nose but for the most part the story just 'was what it was'In The New Republic our MC Edgar Kellogg drops Lawyering to become a journalist and is sent to fictional Barba to cover local terrorist groups the SOB yes that is their name and the disappearance of his predecessor Barrington While trying to make sense of the man's disappearance and the politics of the situation Kellogg comes to grips with his own problems namely that he is a chronic 'follower' clinging to idols and simultaneously despising themThe overall tone of the story is one of irreverent satire which is for the most part fine but at times undermines the tension While the story sort of promises a comedic character study of Kellogg and by proxy Barrington the plot kind of devolves into a sort of action style comedy and in my opinion provides a succinctly ironicsad but ultimately half assed resolution There were some good twists along the way and some of the gags were pretty funny such as the white supremacist group WWWWP however much like Kellogg I found myself chronically unsatisfied with the taleI don't regret reading the book but I would rate it as a pleasant and interesting distraction that lacked the pure mind of Kevin and the touching convolutions of So Much for That

  6. says:

    In progress and generally enjoying despite being offended during an insomnia bout by a former prep school superstar saying So I tossed it I didn't apply to Yale or Harvard but Haverford Updated Like many I came to meet Shriver in We Need to Talk About Kevin Enjoyed is an odd word for such a dark novel but I found it very well done As such I jumped on the Shriver pick when it became available as an advance read from my lovely Harper pals I wish I hadn'tThis is a novel about reporting terrorism and truth Edgar Kellogg is a former lawyer one would think this would attract me a fellow ex attorney who is making a move to journalism hey I write tooI should love this He lacks the journalistic credentials so is shipped off to cover a sorta story in Barba a fictional region in Portugal that has potential terrorist ties Kellogg finds himself in the shadow of his predecessor again feeling like an also ran in life He becomes steeped in the enclave of Barba hacks and intimately involved with the purported terrorists than he ever imaginedI truly sturggled to finish this one and it was only stubborness that propelled me Two stars for some interesting ideas but the execution did nothing for me I didn't like the style wasn't compelled by the characters or plot and just found it a difficult journey I did not have an issue with the terrorism plot being played a bit humorously I just didn't think it was well done

  7. says:

    What happens when a clutch of journalists is left in a remote posting with nothing to report? Might some of them be tempted to fabricate news or massage the truth to keep the paychecks coming and avoid being called home? The New Republic is set on a fictional peninsula called Barba that is trying to gain independence from Portugal Terrorist attacks all over the world have been claimed by the Soldiers of Barba or SOB Barba residents are angry at the tide of Muslim immigrants flooding their territory The terrorist attacks seem to have stopped and journalists assigned to Barba have little to do but gather at the local watering hole and snipe at each other Their favorite topic is the mysterious disappearance of fellow hack Barrington Saddler a man of limitless animal magnetism When rookie reporter Edgar Kellogg is sent to replace Saddler he feels overshadowed by the legend of yet another man he could never be All his life Edgar has been the also ran the sidekick the guy who never uite had the goods With a little imagination and a lot of stupidity Edgar manages to outdo Saddler in sheer audacity and self serving behavior slipping into the self delusion that often accompanies great success at others' expense The book's great strength is the way it raises uestions about media coverage of volatile situations How does the mere presence of reporters influence the behavior of those being reported upon? Does media coverage cause events rather than just observing them? And what part does self interest play in the way journalists spin their stories? Aside from this one trenchant theme the plot contains a lot of devices and weaker themes serving mostly to distract or irritate A tightening up of the manuscript would have been helpful cutting away extraneous material to let the strengths shine brightly The New Republic will find an appreciative audience among fans of farcical fiction Readers who are easily offended should tiptoe around this one While I was not offended neither was I much amused A lot of the intended humor has a nudge nudge wink wink kind of cleverness that doesn't uite let us in on the joke In fairness I have to say I did get some good laughs from a few of the word plays The way the book ends left me puzzling over whether the author was subtly condoning unethical behavior And finally I have to uestion the tastefulness of turning terrorism into comedy regardless of how many years have passed since the tragedies of 911 25 stars

  8. says:

    This was one of the frustrating novels I've read in a long time I love Shriver's work generally but this onejustdragged For a long time it was one of those dreaded books that sucks the joy out of reading for awhile simply because you don't look forward to going back to it Anyway The first two thirds of the book follow new journalist Edgar Kellogg as he lands an assignment in the imaginary backwater land of Barba which is struggling from independence from Portugal He casts about this imaginary land learning about its made up history and getting involved in the community of disgruntled journalists as he tries and fails to live up to the mystiue of the amazing Barrington Saddler his predecessor The final third of the book redeemed it to three star status as the action finally began to pick up as it is finally revealed just why the terrorist attacks in Barba stopped and then started up again and just what Edgar's desire to be seen as someone Powerful and Important will cost him and actually the world Upon finishing it I wasn't sorry I read it but I was sorry it took me so damn long to reach that opinion of it

  9. says:

    Only Shriver dares to make fun of terrorismOriginally written in 1998 but unable to find a publisher Shriver finally got her novel out in 2012 after the success of We Need to Talk About Kevin A prescient satire about terrorism and the unholy relation between terrorism and journalists hilarious and dark humoured Michiko Kakutani hated it there should be NO fun making about terrorism and called it a 'ghastly novel' Which just about proves Shriver's point45

  10. says:

    As she explains in her author's note Lionel Shriver wrote this comic novel about terrorism in 1998 but was unable to sell it because of American lack of interest in terrorism So now it's a novel set in an alternate past I found it uite funny The main character Edgar is an unpleasant chauvinistic guy who feels he's always second best He's always jealously hero worshiping someone else Even though the character was a jerk and kept making poor decisions I felt sympathetic to him and I was rooting for him He doesn't understand other people and views them in the most shallow way I think it's tricky to pull off an awful but likable main character and the whole novel is consistently in his voice Edgar has thrown over a career in law to become a journalist and is assigned to a fictitious area of Portugal Again making up a country is something that could go very very wrong but I thought Lionel Shriver got it just right Edgar is replacing another journalist Barrington Saddler who has mysteriously vanished Barrington was a larger than life person who was everyone's favorite guy and all the people left behind compare Edgar unfavorably to the legendary Barrington Why can't Edgar ever have the charisma of someone like Barrington? It just so happens that when Barrington arrived in Barba a horrifying terrorist movement arose there and when he disappeared it stopped I can't say that I was surprised by the twists and turns of the plot but I enjoyed them I was also anxious for Barrington Saddler to finally reappear and I wasn't disappointed by the way it happened Journalists academics terrorists and the people who love them all get skewered in this farcical story Obviously terrorism isn't really funny and again I think Lionel Shriver got a difficult thing just rightLionel Shriver's prose is very ornate I'll give you the first sentence as an example Whisking into his apartment house on West Eighty Ninth Street Edgar Kellogg skulked eager to avoid eye contact with a doorman who at least got a regular paycheck You'll either love it or hate it But I stopped even noticing it after a few pages because I found the story so absorbing It also made me nostalgic for that bygone time when Americans had floppy disks used AltaVista for their search engines didn't have cell phones and never gave terrorism a thought except to blithely donate money to the IRA I guess my only complaint about this novel is about the supporting characters who were journalists in Barba There were five to seven of them and each one was thinly sketched and then I was supposed to remember them all Some of them end up being important like Nicola and Henry so I got a grasp on them But others made no impression so by the end of the book I still could not tell the difference between Win and Ordwray if indeed those are two different characters I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway and I'm glad I did