Here’s another “must add” to your 2013 reading list: Lionel Shriver’s Big Brother (Harper) will be published in June.
Her middle-aged narrator, Pandora, lives with her husband and two teenage stepchildren in Iowa. Pandora, who comes from a family of big personalities, just wants a normal life with her normal family. She’s been happy to play second fiddle to her father, a former TV star, and her brother, a jazz musician. But when Edison shows up for a visit, he’s gained so much weight that Pandora literally doesn’t recognize the formerly slim, attractive brother she idolized. Edison’s eating issues cause trouble within Pandora’s family, and she is soon torn between her brother and her husband. Of course, this being a Lionel Shriver novel, Big Brother does not shy from asking big questions about the issue of obesity and the limits of loyalty—for siblings, friends and spouses.
Shriver’s own elder brother died of complications from diabetes and obesity just prior to the publication of her 2010 novel, So Much for That. Perhaps it is this personal link to the material that makes Big Brother feel a little bit softer and more forgiving than some of her previous books. Will you read it?