Disgruntled New York corporate lawyer Edgar Kellogg is more than ready to leave his lucrative career for the excitement and uncertainty of journalism. When he's offered the post of foreign correspondent in a Portuguese backwater that has sprouted a homegrown terrorist movement, Edgar recognizes Barrington Saddler, the disappeared reporter Edgar's been sent to replace, as exactly the outsize character he longs to emulate.
Yet all is not as it appears. Os Soldados Ousados de Barba"The Daring Soldiers of Barba"have been blowing up the rest of the world for years in order to win independence for a province so dismal and backward that you couldn't give the rat hole away. So why, with Barrington vanished, do terrorist incidents claimed by the "SOB" suddenly dry up?
The New Republic addresses weighty issues such as terrorism with the deft, tongue-in-cheek touch that is vintage Shriver. It also presses the more intimate question: What makes particular people so magnetic, while the rest of us inspire a shrug? What's their secret? And in the end, who has the better lifethe admired, or the admirer?
“[Shriver’s] whip-smart observations—about relationships, the role of the media, the cult of personality are funny and on the mark.”
“In her latest novel, Lionel Shriver pays homage to Joseph Conrad—examining terrorism, media bloodlust, and the cult of personality through an unexpected lens of satire.”
-Marie Claire, Four New Page-Turners to Keep Bedside
“A very funny book, but the laughs are embedded in a deeply disturbing subject.”
-NPR, "Weekend Edition"
“Shriver is cursed with knowing the human animal all too well. The New Republic is satire of a Shriver kind, that is to say biting.”
“Lionel Shriver, the author of the harrowing and patient We Need to Talk About Kevin, delivers something altogether different: a callous and romping political and journalistic satire.”
-The Daily Beast-- This Week's Hot Reads
“Shriver is one of the sharpest talents around.”
“Witty, caustic and worldly, [Shriver] is a raconteur who could show even Barrington Saddler a thing or two about entertaining a crowd.”
-Wall Street Journal
“Shriver has been a National Book Award finalist with good reason: Her page-turners examine serious issues.”
-Reader's Digest Recommends
“A wondrously fanciful plot, vividly drawn characters, clever and cynical dialogue, and a comically brilliant and verisimilar imagined land. . . . The New Republic is simply terrific.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“The dialogue zings and the writing is jazzy. . . . [Shriver] can toss off a sharp sketch of a passing character in a phrase, and she’s got a gimlet eye for what’s phony, or affected, or even touchingly vain in human behavior.”
“Shriver is an incisive social satirist with a clear grip on the ironies of our contemporary age . . . [Her] take on journalism and international politics is wry, insightful and just over the top enough to be fun.”
-Los Angeles Times
“[Shriver] is uncannily perceptive[with a] vigorous capacity for compassion . . . [A] surprisingly tender novel disguised as a clever satire delivered in polished prose.”
“Part Scoop, part Our Man in Havana and part Len Deighton thriller, Shriver’s novel is not just about terrorism but also about journalism and the nature of charisma. . . . Shriver’s Barba is a wonderful creation.”