Double Fault Epub ¼ ↠ Epub

An ardent middle ranked professional tennis player Willy Novinsky meets her match in Eric Oberdorf the handsome rogue she drubs in a pick up game in Manhattan's Riverside Park Eric is charmingly gracious in defeat and his casual confidence takes her in Low ranked but untested Eric too aims to make his mark on the international tennis circuit Willy beholds compatibility spiced with friendly rivalry and discovers her first passion outside a tennis court They marryConjugal life starts well on the Upper West Side of New York But animated shop talk and blissful love making soon give way to full tilt competition over who can rise to the top first Driven and gifted Willy maintains the lead until she severs her knee ligaments in a devastating spill As Willy recuperates her ranking plummets just as her husband becomes the upstart darling of the tennis circuit Ultimately Eric plays in the US Open Anguished at falling short of her lifelong dream and resentful of her husband's success Willy slides irresistibly toward the first uiet tragedy of her young life

10 thoughts on “Double Fault

  1. says:

    Can always digest a Shriver novel easily the writing flows the insight is heavy and I always know where they're going somewhere badThis is a terrible cover btw you can't see how badly photoshopped the racket and ball are into the stock photo Doesn't seem like they had much faith for this novel second time around eitherKinda funny in a novel that says that cathartic moments rarely drop into a career that's been slowly declining for many years and on this a re issued version it says Orange Prize winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin And consider that this is a cautionary tale about holding onto a dream that's never gonna happen for too long or is it? Big Brother written post Shriver success is a novel that argues that the satisfaction of achieving success is nothing to be envied the Shriver of now is happier and realises she was happy when she wrote thisI see a number of reviews saying this ain't no Kevin I think it's just as well crafted it just happens to be on a different topic Though she does a terrible job of making me care for her characters or convincing me that they're in love I felt the same way when I started So Much for That I was like why are these people married when they hate each other? It's a shame that love and loving gestures are taken as a given when narrating a marriage's descent let alone before the descentBig echoes of Revolutionary Road especially with the whole abortion fiasco just thrown into the end but not uite as devastating In fact it surprised me that I thought of a much devastating ending than Shriver for this one view spoilerin the end the husband says he won't go to the US Open if his wife wants to raise the baby she's carrying She says she already had an abortion Instead the wife should have let him uit waited until the US Open was over and then told him she had an abortion it's a double fault? Tragedy is so basic ; hide spoiler

  2. says:

    I am rubbish at rigid reading lists Everything I read influences the next thing in some way even if that's often just to act as a contrast This book had been languishing on the edge of my mighty bookshelf of unread possibilities since the week after I moved into my current flat so that must have been April last year But after the philosophy wallowing and unfamiliar narrative voice of The Elegance of the Hedgehog it got bumped up the list Lionel Shriver was what I really needed this weekIt's not a long book but it took me almost a full week to read Shriver seems to have a knack of writing main female characters I identify with hugely in a voice that sounds like a polished version of my inner monologue and then spinning out their anxieties and flaws so that I end up examining mine closely and wondering how much I really do identify after all I wallow in her writing so luxuriously that I hardly notice when the plot constricts around my ribcage right up until there's a loud crack from something vitalIn Double Fault Willy a gifted and very ambitious tennis player with a workaholic streak a mile wide and a tendency to conflate herself and her work meets Eric who is similar except for the last part She's been playing tennis since she was five and motivated and financed it entirely without support from her family; he started playing properly aged 18 and seems to live a charmed life able to do anything he sets his mind to They are fabulous together; they get married And then Eric starts getting better at his game faster than Willy does and her competitive side her tenacious side the side that measures her self worth by how good she is at her work that begins to strain And a better study of characters I have not seen in a long timeIt's interesting to see what some authors have as recurring themes This one is entirely obvious Willy is the petty self conscious un self aware precursor to Eva Khatchadourian How to describe that as a theme? Ambitious women who are going to get blamed anyway? That's not right Ambitious women whose fault it will be anyway? Shriver challenges my ideas of what fault looks like for bad situations Eric in Double Fault and Franklin in Kevin escape having fault attached to them by some combination of not feeling the hurt so badly not understanding how to empathise with Willy and Eva blithely carrying on with what's important to them and somehow very subtly just not GETTING what's going on Eric and Franklin are the innocents Willy and Eva are the overthinkers forced to look critically at their situation in a way that Eric and Franklin aren't and it's that which leads to their downfall I think Shriver's running theme is how difficult that is to articulate and what a piss awful situation it is to find yourself in when you then can't explain it or do anything useful to change it without breaking everythingThe other thing I want to say with regard to Kevin is that this book was out of print for a few years til Lionel Shriver got what we might call her Wolf Hall moment and suddenly found her well deserved writerly fame This always makes me think who else is there out there that will make me search my soul so hard that I've never heard of because they've never had their international big break? I must take recommendations; I must expand my horizons I must do everything I can do not to miss things like this

  3. says:

    As so many others have said this book was not of the same caliber of Shriver's WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN or THE POST BIRTHDAY WORLD So yes from that standpoint reading it was a disappointment But what if we think about it differently? What if we think about it as Shriver's sixth novel the one that came before KEVIN and POST BIRTHDAY? What if we read it and look for those hints and they are certainly there and in force of what it is to come from this writer? Read that way DOUBLE FAULT is fascinating In this society of ours we seem to prize most those people for whom skill and success appear effortless But here is a writer who has spent decades at her craft and slowly book by book became extraordinary Isn't the path she followed creatively well worth our time and respect?

  4. says:

    This book is a powerful portrayal of the destructive nature of competitiveness I felt that it made me think deeply about the important difference between ambition and competition As such being ambitious is mainly directed at yourself aiming at improving your last score for example or being keen to do your very best whatever the activity or task at hand Competition however appears to be directed at others the importance to climb to the top ie in this case reach the top of the tennis champions listings Ambition is hence the healthier 'version' because what you want is to reach your potential which allows for self discovery and you can learn to accept who you are As for competition it is frustrating at the best of times because you are constantly going to face people who may be better than you and if that is the value you put on your life it's disheartening I sensed loneliness and fear in the female character of the story and it made me think a lot about the fact that competitiveness needs guided with compassion or you end up in a one way tunnel where there is no way out It's a thought provoking read

  5. says:

    I really think that Lionel Shriver is somewhat of an underrated writer I have read several of her books and she has excellent character development and is not afraid to tackle dense and conflictual subject matter This novel really focuses on the damage we do to each other in a marriage and the impact of two highly competitive people trying to have a relationship The level of egotistical selfishness in professional athletes in this novel was amazing Shriver writes beautifully and integrates well thought out metaphors and turns of phrase I would recommend her as a writer and liked this novel a lot

  6. says:

    I am a huge fan of Lionel Shriver I think The Post Birthday World is one of the finest novels on the subject of love marriage and romance in our modern era I was not necessarily drawn to this novel because of the subject Although I don't hate tennis and can take watching it in small doses I am no bog fan of the game or its place in our society I have to say though that Shriver drew me into this world and kept my interest throughoutThis novel is just as much about analyzing a relationship and marriage and about the extreme competition and rivalry and obsession that can come from committing oneself to a sport like tennis Ironically enough I am presently in the midst of the USA production of Dare Me from the novel by Meg Abbott This show explores the competition and obsession within high school cheerleading and the similarities are striking The star of Double Fault is a beautiful young woman named Willy who has great talent drive and potential to rise in the world of professional tennis She meets a young man named Eric who has just recently taken up the game and is learning fast She is the better player and plans to stay that way However when Eric is rising faster than she is trouble brews Willy has never been truly appreciated by her father who wants her to keep tennis as a hobby or sideline and boy is she trying to prove him wrong about her chances to make it in the sport This effect causes her to become incredibly competitive with her husband which greatly strains the marriageThis is not an easy novel to read Although I really enjoyed the character of Willy many may find her to be incredibly selfish and impulsive I really got into her obsession and understood where she was coming from Although I have never had that drive or intense competitive spirit when I used to play basketball I really wanted to win and to do well on whatever team I was playing on I felt that the author really explored this feeling well and exposed how destructive it could be both within and outside of the sport itselfThe writing as usual was superb Even in reviews that were lukewarm for this book no one seemed to uestion the uality of the prose It can be frustrating dealing with the intensity of the feelings in this book but I found myself immersed in them And the author certainly doesn't take the easy way out as well No everyone lives happily ever after in this story and I feel this made it sophisticated

  7. says:

    There was a lot to admire and appreciate here Shriver's writing style is witty and her powers of observation and description are as honed as ever here in describing the dynamics of the female and male halves of a relationship in this case two professional tennis players In some ways there are a lot of themes which are common in most relationships in some ways there are specific issue relating to the sport I thought it explored these all with some exuisite drama and insightBut why the three stars? Tennis isn't my favourite sport but I do enjoy watching it enough to 'get' most of the reference points referred to in the novel and have some understanding of how these play a part so it's not that I compare 'The Post Birthday World' and the extent to which the life of a professional snooker sportsperson was used there I think I just didn't enjoy the book as much as I might have because I didn't much like the main characters The female protagonist came over as self centred and childish her partner as vacant and shallow Whatever sympathy I had for the characters and their circumstances I lost as a conseuence of their refusal to adaptmature

  8. says:

    It occurs to me that the world of professional sport is one that has been relatively unexplored by novelists Perhaps that is because sport is its own drama and there is little to be gained from writing about fictional sporting contests when one can watch the real thing There's David Peace's imaginings of the management careers of Brian Clough and Bill Shankly and I can't really think of much else Actually that's not uite true There's the whole of Dick Francis' oeuvre for starters And when I was about twelve or thirteen I loved Bob Judd's thrillers set in the world of Formula 1 but I suspect they would not benefit from an adult re reading I suppose a part of the problem is the mixing of the real with the imagined Either you write about actual sports stars who really exist a la David Peace in which case are you really writing fiction? Or you make up the characters from scratch which creates something of a problem with suspension of disbelief at least for readers with an interest in the sport in uestion Even at the age of 12 I knew that Forrest Evers was not actually a racing driver and reading the book I couldn't help wondering who his fictional rivals real world euivalents were It can uickly all end up feeling rather Roy of the RoversShriver's book gets around these obstacles both by being about the relationship between two tennis players rather than tennis itself and by being not about international stars at the very pinnacle of the sport but people who make up the vast bulk of professionals making a living from the sport out of the public eye Players with a world ranking in the hundreds It is perfectly possible that these players could exist and I would never have heard of them And in a way the stories of those who never uite succeed who are good but not great or who by some combination of bad luck and self sabotage never uite fulfil their potential may be interesting than the all too familiar story of the world champion who 'never stopped believing in their dream' and 'overcame the odds' and The story is told from the point of view of Willy for Wilhemina she claims though her father refers to her as Willow Novinsky who when the book begins is ranked 437 ”but that's in the world” she remarks early on who has played tennis since she was 5 and has pursued a professional career against the advice of her family and has never wanted to do anything else but at 23 knows that the clock is already ticking if she is to secure her big break and her relationship with Eric Oberdorf a young man from an old money background who in contrast with his wife had not always dreamed of being a Grand Slam winner but had taken up the game at 18 and just found that he was good at it so decided to keep at it Otheres have remarked on how Willy appears to be something of an early prototype for the character of Eva Khatchadourian in her famous 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' and while I can see some similarities though bear in mind I'm going on my hazy memory of a book I read some years ago – both have a certain bloodmindedness that leads them to shun those who might be able to help them fundamentally I saw this as a book about the negative effects of being in an intensely competitive environment devoting one's life to something and coming up short And in a sense given the extent to which top level sport is as much about the psychological strength of its participants as it is about their raw ability it is an examination of how wanting anything too much can be intensely self destructive Perhaps especially in sport and perhaps doubly especially in tennisI've never been a big tennis fan but it has always struck me as an especially high pressure sport because if at any time your opponent starts playing better than you you can always still lose If you're three goals up with five minutes to play your are highly unlikely to lose a football match If you've got a six stroke lead going into the eighteenth hole at a golf tournament you don't have to take any big risks But if you've got a two set lead and three match points in a tennis match you can still lose and indeed this is or less exactly what happens to Willy at arguably the crux point of the book where she crumbles against a supposedly much weaker opponent just as her husband's career is taking offThere were aspects of the book that didn't uite ring true to me Again it might just be my ignorance of tennis but I'm not sure how likely it would be that Eric would struggle to beat his wife when he was ranked in the 400s in the men's game while she was in the 200s in the women's game whether this is Shriver's ignorance of the difference between the men's and women's game or whether we the readers are meant to guess that up to that point Eric has been letting his wife win I'm not sure And by the end of the book I was finding Eric's patience with Willy began to stretch credulity – unless I suppose it is a kind of weaponised reasonableness But an interesting read and one with characters well enough drawn that I did find myself wondering in that absurd way with fictional characters what happened to them next

  9. says:

    Spoilers ahead I found it hard to rate this book on one hand it did have a compelling 'have to finish' uality if a bit voyeuristic in nature on the other it has patches of purple prose notably the lovesex scenes Not many of those thank goodness with their shattering orgasmic noises though these are his for a change And some strange incomprehensible sentences These may have been Kindle errors of courseThe sentences that is not the orgasmic noise And of course as many reviwers have already noted the protagonists are unlikeable and driven and often stupid Still one shouldn't reuire ones protagonists to be nice and I do think Lionel Shriver has done a bold job in presenting Willy Wilhelmina and Eric to us Willy is a deeply flawed even damaged character and the book as much as anything else details her descent into a maelstrom of self blame and masochism I notice several reviewers hate her for having an abortion without even consulting her husband citing this as her ultimate in selfish behaviour I saw it as almost worse than this I think she did it as a mad INVITATION to be hated and blamed and to get the long suffering Eric to punish her as she felt she deserved So as you see not a fun read particularly if like me you are uncomfortable with female mascochism I don't know how it would read if you really liked and understood tennis I don't as I had believed the blurb that said it was 'not really about tennis except as a metaphor' Yes true in theory I suppose but there was a whole lot of tennis in it in fact a whole lot in huge detail in terms of strokes and plays and games and sets and scores and ranking and so on Let alone the ongoing constant metaphor of love as a desperate game where people must win and loseI did like Shriver's management of anger at the way in which women's achievements are necessarily and routinely subjected to their male counterparts and the injustice of the systems that hold this in place In addition she has some thought provoking discussions going on about how women and men handle emotions under pressure and she doesn't labour this she just offers it for interest For instance she has Eric say of Monica Seles' long traumatised absence from tennis after being non life threateningly stabbed I don't think a man would have been 'tramuatised' I think a man would have been angry Shriver seems to have a thing about names Willy and her sister Gert Gert have surely the most unpleasing names in the lexicon of girls names Eric Oberdorf and Max Upchurch by contrast being rather fine and warrior like Willy's wall eyed therapist is called Edsel wasn't that the name of a laughably bad car model? So all in all I don't know about this book I don't think I liked it and I was pleased to find it is earlier than We Have to Talk About Kevin which is incomparably better than this

  10. says:

    I read this book because I immensely enjoyed two of Lionel Shriver's other books The Post Birthday World and We Need to Talk About Kevin Usually when I find a book that I like I immediately try to find other books by the author and read them Although I enjoyed this book I didn't find it as intriguing or involving as her others And yes the author is a woman I just assumed it was a man when I began The Post Birthday World and kept thinking This guy can really write from a woman's point of view but then later found out it was a woman Anyway I'm not saying this is a bad book by any meansjust that I didn't love it as much as the two others I have readThis book is about a marriage and tennis The protagonist is a semi professional tennis player named Willy Novinsky Willy has lived and breathed tennis since she was a young girl and has centered her whole life on being a successful professional tennis player When she meets Eric Oberdorf during an impromptu tennis game at Riverside Park she is intrigued by his natural talent and his good looks He is intrigued by her Because she's never made room in her life for romance it seems like a match made in heaven to find a man who admires her tennis game and shares her interest in tennis Eric begins pursuing tennis as a profession as his natural talent begins to blossom They fall in love and marry And things are gooduntil Eric's career begins to eclipse Willy's careerAt its heart the book is about Willy's struggle to come to terms with her life as a wife as a tennis player and as a woman I loved that she wasn't a typical woman that you often find in books She is a competitive woman who wants to win Who values tennis than anything in the world possibly even her husband Her struggle to come to terms with these issues is very interesting but painful to watch As someone who has never been very passionate about a career I struggled to watch Willy deal with her loss of identity as her tennis career begins to falter Willy isn't a completely sympathetic character and I often found myself struggling to like her But at the end I found myself wanting to know what the future held for herAlthough this wasn't my favorite book of Lionel Shriver's it was a good read If you are particularly fond of tennis you might find even to love about this book All in all I give the book a C ranking