Author(s): Lionel Shriver
It all hinges on one kiss. Whether Irena McGovern does or does not lean in to a specific pair of lips in London will determine whether she stays with her disciplined, intellectual partner Lawrence or runs off with Ramsey, a hardÃ�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�living snooker player. Using a parallel universe structure, we follow Irena's life as it unfolds under the influence of two drastically different men. Lawrence is Irena's partner of nearly ten years. Ramsey is the exÃ�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�husband of a sometime friend, a onceÃ�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�aÃ�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�year acquaintance to whom Irena has never paid a great deal of attention. Where Lawrence is supportive and devoted; Ramsey is flighty and spontaneous. Lawrence is emotionally withdrawn to the point of repression; Ramsey is fiery and passionate, but volatile. The contrasts between the two men have ramifications for Irena's relationships with friends and family, for her career as an illustrator, and more importantly, for the texture of her daily life. This love is about tradeÃ�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�offs. Both men in Irena's dual future are worthy of her affection but deeply flawed. The answer is that there is no perfect answer: one of the things that draws us to our mates is what is wrong with them.
The PostÃ�Â�Ã�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Ã�Â�Birthday World is written with all the subtlety, perceptiveness and drama that made We Need To Talk About Kevin an international bestseller. First published 2007.