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This book is written by the same author as "We need to talk about Kevin". I'll admit it took me two tries to read that. This one was easier to read, but again is about relationships, and how they fail.
I'm not a tennis fan, but I think this novel would have worked just as well set against any competitive background.
Willy is a tennis player, just beginning to climb the rankings, when she meets Eric. Eric is the type of person who decides they will do well at a certain thing, and does. It is quite clear from the start of the novel that willy doesn't like to be beaten, even by a man, who good sense should tell her is stronger than her, and has more stamina. However, they marry and all is well as they climb up the rankings, as Willy is ahead of Eric, until Willy falls badly during a match and injures her knee. During her recuperation, she drops in the rankings, whilst Eric continues to climb. This irks Willy, and she throws herself into recovery. Unfortunately her knee is now a weak point, and when she starts to play again, she loses matches, to counterpoint this, Eric continues to win, and is now in the top 200 and playing international tennis. Things carry on from there, Eric realises that the situation is affecting their marriage, whilst Willy is blind to what is happening.
I found the ending of this book rather sad, and a little bleak for Willy, although she was the type of character you could begin to dislike, but the writing is so good you want to carry on reading. The end was bleak on the surface for Eric, but Shriver had built his character up so well, you couldn't help feeling he'd be hurt, but not permanently damaged by the events.


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