Double Fault

Lionel Shriver

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Book Overview

“Love me, love my game,” says professional tennis player Willy Novinsky at twenty-three. Tennis has been Willy’s one love, until she meets the uncannily confident Eric Oberdorf. Low-ranked but untested, Eric, too, aims to make his mark on the international tennis circuit.

They marry. But their life together soon grows poisoned by full-tilt competition over which spouse can rise to the top first. Willy discovers that her perfect partner may also prove her most devastating opponent.

An unflinching look at the ravages of rivalry in the two-career relationship, Double Fault is not so much about tennis as about marriage—a slightly different sport.

About the author

LIONEL SHRIVER’S novels include the National Book Award finalist So Much for That, the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World, and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin. Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian and the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications. She lives in London and Brooklyn, New York.


Praise for Double Fault

‘A brilliant tale of doomed love’ Observer

‘With prose as taut as a well-strung racquet, you’ll be captivated’ Marie Claire

‘That Shriver refuses to avert her gaze, much less sweeten the pill, is what makes her such an interesting writer. She does not coax, or wheedle: she challenges. She makes you think’ Daily Telegraph

‘Shriver is a truly remarkable star in the literary firmament. She has an uncanny sense of the way women subject themselves to secret, inward torture, weighing themselves down with passionate feelings they believe socially unacceptable to bring out in the open … I doubt there is any thoughtful woman who does not recognise herself somewhere in Shriver’s writing’ Lisa Jardine, Financial Times

‘The characters and situations are utterly convincing and the level of detail in the narrative procides a ghastly gossipy pleasure’ Lesley Glaister

‘Shriver doesn’t care whether her characters are likeable or not: they play off one another’s strengths and weaknesses in a mesmerizing grudge match’ Saga Magazine

‘The scenes between Willy and Eric are terrific pieces of writing: the dialogue crackles with rage, frustration and bitterness’ Independent

‘Her writing is as precise and devastating as a Federer forehand’ Belfast Telegraph

‘When feminism has become the politics that dare not speak its name, it is refreshing to find an author who will bring such renewed vigour to the gender wars’ Guardian

‘Her exploration of her characters is so fearless that although readers may not sympathise with her, they’ll understand why she’s driven to destroy what she loves’ Metro