Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Double Fault by Lionel Shriver
Although this novel was first published in the USA in 1997, it was only published in the UK in 2006 after the success of ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’. It has similarities in style but I do not think it should be unfavorably compared as it was written much earlier in the authors career before her writing style had fully developed.
Tennis is the dominate theme in this novel based on a relationship between two ambitious tennis players.
The female protagonist is Wilhelmina Novinsky a professional tennis player whose life has been devoted to the game for as long as she can remember. Tennis has also been the only love in her life until she meets Eric Oberdorf a gifted player come late to the game but determined to make a success on the international tennis circuit. They marry and at first seem deeply in love but ambition and determination soon begin to affect the relationship as the competition between them causes tensions between them. Loyalty is well tested in this battle of the sexes on and off court.
What could have been a great relationship is ruined by the demands of both Willy and Eric who at times were both in my mind rather unpleasant characters.
Using tennis as the vehicle to write a relationship novel was for me a very interesting one, but somehow I doubt I would have enjoyed it quite so much if I was not a fan of tennis myself.