Lionel Shriver: A rotten bond

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 (Serpent's Tail, 1st March 2005, tpb, £9.99, 1852428899) by American writer Lionel Shriver. It is a provocative, hard-hitting book that carries an extremely powerful charge, but which is certain to polarise its readers, many of whom will be infuriated, even offended, by the story.

We Need To Talk About Kevin is the author's seventh novel, and her first to achieve significant sales success in America, where a word-of-mouth surge has now ...

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