Author(s): Lionel Shriver
Kevin Katchadourian killed seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher, shortly before his sixteenth birthday. He is visited in prison by his mother, Eva, who narrates in a series of letters to her estranged husband Franklin, the story of Kevin's upbringing.
A successful career woman, Eva is reluctant to forgo her independence and the life she shares with Franklin to become a mother.
Once Kevin is born, she experiences extreme alienation and dislike of Kevin as he grows up to become a spiteful and cruel child. When Kevin commits murder, Eva fears that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become. But how much is she to blame? And if it isn't her fault, why did he do it?
Winner of Orange Prize 2005.
Runner-up for Reading Group Book of the Year 2007.
Shortlisted for British Book Awards: Crime Thriller of the Year 2006.
'Addresses head-on the question that causes anguish to the greatest readers of fiction these days, middle-class women: when to, or even why, have a child?' --Australian
'By far the best novel I've read in years...exquisitely crafted...a breathtaking work of art.'-- Age
'An elegant psychological and philosophical investigation of culpability with a brilliant denoument...although (Eva's) reliability as a narrator becomes increasingly questionable as she oscillates between anger, self-pity and regret, her search for answers becomes just as compulsive for the reader.' --Observer
'Harrowing, tense and thought-provoking, this is a vocal challenge to every accepted parenting manual you've ever read.' --Daily Mail
'One of the most striking works of fiction to be published this year. It is Desperate Housewives as written by Euripides... A powerful, gripping and original meditation on evil.' --New Statesman
'[Shriver's] detailed depiction of a marriage and a family torn apart by silence is disarmingly direct...Shriver's novel is a timely one...maybe we all need to talk about Kevin...Nature or nurture? Shriver leaves it to the reader to decide in this powerful cautionary tale.' --Belfast Telegraph
'Few novels leave you gasping at the final paragraph as if the breath had been knocked from your body. Yet such is the impact of We Need to Talk About Kevin... Shriver's novel subjects a sensitive topic to fierce and tough-minded scrutiny.'-- Bookseller
'A great read with horrifying twists and turns.' --Marie Claire
'A deeply shocking but mesmerising novel.' --Herald
'This book asks the question many women are afraid to ask: does maternal instinct really exist...A good read for all women who have struggled with the loss of self that often comes with motherhood.' --Big Issue
'Forces the reader to confront assumptions about love and parenting, about how and why we apportion blame, about crime and punishment, forgiveness and redemption.' --Independent
'One of the bravest books I've ever read...original, powerful, resonant, witty, fascinating and deeply intelligent.' --Sunday Business Post