Big Brother is a striking novel about siblings, marriage, and obesity from Lionel Shriver, the acclaimed author the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin.
For Pandora, cooking is a form of love. Alas, her husband, Fletcher, a self-employed high-end cabinetmaker, now spurns the “toxic” dishes that he’d savored through their courtship, and spends hours each day to manic cycling. Then, when Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at the airport, she doesn’t recognize him. In the years since they’ve seen one another, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened? After Edison has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: It’s him or me.
Rich with Shriver’s distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat: an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much sacrifice we'll make to save single members of our families, and whether it's ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.
“What would you do for love of a brother? For love of a husband? For love of food? In Big Brother, Shriver’s new and wonderfully timely novel, her heroine wrestles with these vexing questions. Only the scales don’t lie.” (Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy)
“The fellowship of Lionel Shriver fanatics is about to grow larger, so to speak. Big Brother, a tragicomic meditation on family and food, may be her best book yet.” (Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story)
“A searing, addictive novel about the power and limitations of food, family, success, and desire. Shriver examines America’s weight obsession with both razor-sharp insight and compassion.” (J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine and Commencement)
“Brilliantly imagined, beautifully written, and superbly entertaining, Shriver’s novel confronts readers with the decisive question: can we save our loved ones from themselves? A must-read for Shriver fans, this novel will win over new readers as well.” (Library Journal)
“An intelligent meditation on food, guilt, and the real (and imagined) debts we owe the ones we love.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Shriver brilliantly explores the strength of sibling bonds versus the often more fragile ties of marriage.” (Booklist)
“[Shriver] has a knack for conveying subtle shifts in family dynamics. . . . Ms Shriver offers some sage observations. . . . Yet her main gift as a novelist is a talent for coolly nailing down uncomfortable realities.” (The Economist)
“Shriver is brilliant on the novel shock that is hunger. . . . Most of all, though, there’s her glorious, fearless, almost fanatically hard-working prose.” (Guardian)
“Shriver is wonderful at the things she is always wonderful at. Pace and plot. . . . Psychology.” (Independent)
From the Back Cover
From the acclaimed author of the National Book Award finalist So Much for That and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin comes a striking new novel about siblings, marriage, and obesity.
When Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at her local Iowa airport, she literally doesn't recognize him. In the four years since the siblings last saw each other, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened?
And it's not just the weight. Imposing himself on Pandora's world, Edison breaks her husband Fletcher's handcrafted furniture, makes overkill breakfasts for the family, and entices her stepson not only to forgo college but to drop out of high school.
After the brother-in-law has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: It's him or me. Putting her marriage and adopted family on the line, Pandora chooses her brother—who, without her support in losing weight, will surely eat himself into an early grave.
Rich with Shriver's distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat—an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much we'll sacrifice to rescue single members of our families, and whether it's ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.