Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Double Fault by Lionel Shriver

Tennis Balls
Originally uploaded by Esterburja

Click to view large image of cover in new window...

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.


  1. I did enjoy We Need to Talk About Kevin (is 'enjoy' the right word? Not really - more 'appreciate', I think ...), but found Eva an absolutely vile character. I wasn't at all surprised Kevin turned out the way that he did, with a mother like that. I also guessed the twist quite early on in the book, and therefore found the ending went a bit flat for me. I'd be interested to read some of her other writing, but sadly I'm not in the least excited by tennis, so this might not be the best one to go for!

  2. Definitely not one for you then Katja.


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