Double Fault by Lionel Shriver
Here’s my quick synopsis of “Double Fault:”
Willy cares about nothing but tennis, but that’s okay, because she’s good. Willy meets Eric, he plays tennis too! Plus, she has ended her affair with her coach, so she might as well hook up with Eric. Eric and Willy don’t actually appear to like one another that much or know much about each other besides tennis, but hey, you know, it might be fun if they got married. Eric gets better at tennis, Willy gets hurt, Eric gets better than her, and she gets pissed. Marriage that was based on nothing besides tennis falters unsurprisingly when Willy’s game does the same. Eric and Willy are terrible to one another.
I think it says a lot about my feelings about this book that my favorite part was when Willy finally broke down and smacked Eric. I’m really rather sad that this was my first experience with Lionel Shriver, because I didn’t terribly enjoy it at all. Here’s the thing: both Willy and Eric were terrible human beings. They were terrible to each other and had no business being in any sort of actual personal relationships, because they didn’t have a clue how to do so in a remotely healthy manner. I’m really not a fan of unsympathetic characters, but they can work for me if they are interesting. Perhaps it is because I’m not interested in tennis, but I really didn’t care about any part of Willy and Eric’s lives.
The one good thing about this book was Shriver’s writing, which was complex and usually very engaging. That bodes well – or hopeful, at least – for the three other books by Shriver on my TBR shelves.