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So Much for That

By Lionel Shriver

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| eBook | 9780007351886

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Book Description

An extraordinary novel from the Orange Prize winning author of ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’.

What do you pack for the rest of your life?

Shepherd Knacker is bored with his humdrum existence. He's sold his successful handy-man business Continue

An extraordinary novel from the Orange Prize winning author of ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’.

What do you pack for the rest of your life?

Shepherd Knacker is bored with his humdrum existence. He's sold his successful handy-man business for a million dollars and is now ready to embark on his 'Afterlife' - a one way ticket to a small island off the coast of Africa. He tries to convince his wife Glynis to come with him, but she laughs off the idea as preposterous.There's no way she'll let Shepherd uproot the family to some far-flung African island.

When Glynis is diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer, Shepherd's dreams of an exotic adventure are firmly put on hold. He devotes himself to caring for his sick wife, watching her fade before his eyes.

Shepherd's best friend Jackson knows all too well about illness. His sixteen year old daughter has spent her life dosed up on every treatment going while he and his wife Carol feed their youngest daughter sugar pills so she won't feel left out. But then Jackson undergoes a medical procedure of his own which has devastating consequences …

So Much For That is a deeply affecting novel, told with Lionel Shriver's trademark originality, intelligence and acute perception of the human condition.

10 Reviews

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  • 1 person finds this helpful

    *** This comment contains spoilers! ***

    I prefer Zanzibar

    This novel is about Shep, who dreams of getting away from it all, of cutting his losses from a life of work and wealth acquisition to spend what he calls “the afterlife” in a suitably exotic location. He has spent many years trying to convince his wi ...(continue)

    This novel is about Shep, who dreams of getting away from it all, of cutting his losses from a life of work and wealth acquisition to spend what he calls “the afterlife” in a suitably exotic location. He has spent many years trying to convince his wife, Glynis, to have the same dream, but without success so far. Very early on in the book, Shep decides that it’s finally time to live his dream, he’s going to Pemba, with or without Glynis. At this point, she announces that she has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and the central theme of the book becomes apparent: the cost of medical care. The novel is set in the USA, the protagonists are wealthy people.

    (Spoilers coming thick and fast now:)

    Clinical procedures and treatments are followed to buy Glynis time and rapidly deplete the family’s resources. To make matters worse, Shep loses his job, and therefore medical insurance for his family, and there are still many other calls on his purse: looking after Gabe, his aging father, supporting an impossibly bitchy sister, providing for his and Glynis’s two children.

    The other characters in the novel are Shep’s friends: nice Carol married to angry Jackson, with their two daughters, Heather and Flicka, the latter a very smart cookie and heavily disabled. There is also a suitably evil boss. The hero Shep is an improbably all-round nice guy, taking care of everybody beyond the call of duty, saintly in his ministrations to his sick wife and a handy man (every woman’s dream, surely, forget the six-pack) with a penchant for artistic tinkering (he creates wacky fountains).

    And this is a note to the person who lent me this book: when I said I wanted to retire to Zanzibar (Pemba is an island in the Zanzibar archipelago), I wasn’t thinking particularly of dying there! Anyway, when Glynis is close to death, Shep decides to move her to Pemba, together with his father, his son (the daughter who is no longer in education stays in the US), Carol and her two daughters (mad at the world Jackson having in the meantime shot himself). They get there. All the sick and aged die in rapid succession: Glynis, Gabe and Flicka and the survivors stay on Pemba, blissfully happy.

    I enjoyed parts of this book: Jackson’s rants are fun to read and references to bao and cloves brought happy memories back. A review said that “British readers will close this excellent novel feeling grateful for the NHS”. Indeed, but France is ranked first for “overall health system performance” in 191 countries in the WHO’s latest report (2000) on the topic. OK, it does mean our social contributions are a leeetle bit on the high side.

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    Hélène Wilkinson said on Aug 18, 2013 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    Non raggiunge la quasi perfezione di "Dobbiamo parlare di Kevin" però ci si avvicina. Un po' troppo verbosa in certe parti dove analizza finemente la situazione dell'assicurazione sanitaria americana, mi sa che tale situazione come minimo le procura ...(continue)

    Non raggiunge la quasi perfezione di "Dobbiamo parlare di Kevin" però ci si avvicina. Un po' troppo verbosa in certe parti dove analizza finemente la situazione dell'assicurazione sanitaria americana, mi sa che tale situazione come minimo le procura una bella incazzatura cosmica. E poi il finale é un po' troppo mieloso, l'ho trovato strano per una come la Shriver che pare scrivere con un rasoio.
    Lo definerei "tagliente" questo libro, in alcune sue parti bisogna fare attenzione alle pagine che sono affilate come coltelli per il sushi, la loro lettura può causare ferite, grandi i piccole, proprio come far passare un dito sulla lama del succitato coltello.

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    Maktub59 said on Oct 18, 2012 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    So much for that

    Adoro lo stile cinico e distaccato della Shriver, anche se devo ammettere che tra i suoi libri questo è quello che mi è piaciuto meno (gli ho comunque assegnato 4 stelline, ma gli altri due libri sono per me due capolavori). Il libro è un’aspra criti ...(continue)

    Adoro lo stile cinico e distaccato della Shriver, anche se devo ammettere che tra i suoi libri questo è quello che mi è piaciuto meno (gli ho comunque assegnato 4 stelline, ma gli altri due libri sono per me due capolavori). Il libro è un’aspra critica contro le assicurazioni sanitarie americane, che di fatto non permettono ad una persona seriamente malata di curarsi. La lettura mi ha ricordato moltissimo “Sicko”, il film di Moore che tratta lo stesso argomento. In “Tutta un’altra vita” si racconta principalmente di due malati: Glynis, artista cinquantenne a cui viene diagnosticato un terribile e raro tumore e Flicka, sedicenne affetta da una malattia genetica quasi sconosciuta. Entrambe lotteranno a modo loro, cercheranno di vivere la loro malattia grazie all’aiuto dei loro familiari (senza un lavoro non si ha diritto all’assicurazione) ed entrambe lo faranno con una buona dose di cinismo. La malattia qui, non è uno stato che va compatito, sembra piuttosto necessario compatire chi sta loro vicino. Infatti Shep, marito di Glynis, dovrà rinunciare al progetto su cui aveva sognato per tutta la vita, mentre Carol e Jackson, genitori di Flicka, affronteranno non poche avversità. Rimane sullo sfondo, ma non per questo è sminuito, il dolore delle due malate, un dolore che potrebbe capitare a chiunque. Fin qui il libro è splendido. La parte finale, però, non mi ha pienamente convinta, mi è sembrata semplicistica e frettolosa. E’ un libro da leggere, un libro che pone molti interrogativi sul diritto di essere curati.

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    Lightblue said on Jun 9, 2012 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    Dopo aver letto "Dobbiamo parlare di Kevin" , "Effetti sconvolgenti di un compleanno" questo libro mi è sembrato assolutamente noioso! L'ho abbandonato a un quarto. Dov'è finita la Lionel Shriver dei primi due libri?

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    Elena Zanotti said on May 16, 2012 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    The best book I've read in ages. The characters are so real you feel you will meet them when you walk out of the front door. It has everything - humour, tragedy, realism and fantasy. If you are American, I feel so sorry for you if you get ill; if ...(continue)

    The best book I've read in ages. The characters are so real you feel you will meet them when you walk out of the front door. It has everything - humour, tragedy, realism and fantasy. If you are American, I feel so sorry for you if you get ill; if you are British you will think "thank God for the NHS".

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    golfnut said on Nov 21, 2011 | Add your feedback

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