Double Fault – Book Review

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.

Buy this book from:
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This review was done with a book received from the library.
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10 comments to Double Fault – Book Review

  • That book doesn’t sound too good, but the sad thing is that there are probably relationships just like that out there.

  • Kelly

    I couldn’t agree more, this book was a real struggle for me to finish. Lionel Shriver seems to always develop unsympathetic characters. However, “We Need To Talk About Kevin” is my favourite book of all time. The writing and structure are amazing!

  • Ti

    Shriver’s writing doesn’t do it for me. I’m not sure why. To me, it’s like dropping an old mercury filled thermometer and watching all of the mercury scatter about. It’s all over the place all at once. That’s how I felt about Post Birthday World.

  • Hearing this really bummed me out, because I do love this woman. I think her writing is clever as hell. I don’t mind that she wanders…I have fun going on the meander with her. I adored The Post-Birthday World. I think all my friends got tired of hearing about it. And I’m about 1/3 of the way through We Need to Talk About Kevin, and it is equally amazing so far. However, if she can go so terribly wrong, I doubt I will become a fangirl.

  • Hmm…I’ve only read Post-Birthday World and liked it, but I think I’m going to steer clear of this one. Thanks for the honest review!

  • Ok Jen… Tell us what you really felt about this book! :) It was fun discussing it with you last night. Once I get through my work project (due tomorrow COB) I think I might email the author to get some answers to the questions we came up with last night.

    Thanks for reading it, you might not like We need to talk about Kevin – it’s not a book anyone should ‘like’ for the plot but it leaves you thinking.

    • I’m usually okay with books with a super tough plot (war, death, destruction, abuse, etc), so I’m hopeful. I just need to care about the characters, even if they aren’t likeable, and I just couldn’t care about Willy and Eric.

  • It made for a great discussion even though we were both feeling tortured for the week and a half that we read it.

  • Lol – I love your review as much as I would probably hate the book. I do not do well with characters that are terrible human beings either – I need them to have at least a spark of something that makes them tolerable. If I wouldn’t spend 2 – 4 hours with this person in real life, why would I spend that time reading about them?