Listen free for 30 days

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.
The Post-Birthday World cover art

The Post-Birthday World

By: Lionel Shriver
Narrated by: Helen Johns,Lionel Shriver - author's note
Try for £0.00

£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.

Buy Now for £26.99

Buy Now for £26.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

From the Orange Prize winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, this is the novel Lionel Shriver wrote directly afterwards. The Post-Birthday World is an unflinching account of the choices that unfold before us and what our decisions really mean.

Irina McGovern's destiny hinges on a single kiss. Whether she gives in to its temptation will determine whether she stays with her reliable partner, Lawrence, or runs off with Ramsey, a hard-living snooker player.

Employing a parallel universe structure, Shriver spins Irina's competing futures with two drastically different men. An intellectual and fellow American, Lawrence is clever and supportive but rigid and emotionally withdrawn. A British celebrity, Ramsey is passionate and spontaneous but jealous, undereducated and prone to picking arguments. Their contrasting characters will colour her other relationships, her career and the texture of her daily life.

If love is always about trade-offs - if every romantic prospect is flawed - how can we ever know whom to choose?

©2007 Lionel Shriver (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"Those of us who rave about the dash and dare of Lionel Shriver's fiction can rejoice that The Post-Birthday World, a Sliding Doors-style joint tale of alternative loves and lives, will garner the attention she always deserves." (Independent)
"A compelling survey of the competing merits of security vs. desire." (Guardian)
"Shriver gives us another passionate novel.... Like Sliding Doors, the tale splits into two, following the dramatic turns of each choice. Brilliant." (Cosmopolitan)
"It's another domestic drama with a compelling twist...the power struggle between the sexes is spot-on. Shriver chalks her narrative cue with relish and, once the story gets underway, it's hard to take your eyes off the green baize." (Tatler)
"The Post-Birthday World is about the dilemmas of love - a must if you were gripped by We Need to Talk About Kevin." (Harper's Bazaar)
"Perceptive and highly original." (Closer)

What listeners say about The Post-Birthday World

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    35
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Gave up....

Got 11 hours into this book but had to give up.
Seemingly a very VERY long book for not a lot of action. If you can get past the character that seemingly only talks in mockery cliches, or the arduous but very uninteresting discussion about snooker, or even Shrivers often unnecessarily overly flowery language - this is basically a boring version of sliding doors.
That being said the last 13 hours could be sensational..... but life seems to short to find out.
2 stars given just for the fact that she obviously spent a lot of time writing a very long book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant performance of a fantastic book

I want to give the performance ten stars - "gobsmackin', innit," as Ramsey Acton would say. Helen Johns not only gets all the languages and accents (American English, British English, South London, Russian, English with a Russian accent, etc.) just right, but each character has their own distinct, instantly recognisable voice, and they frequently use different pronunciations for the same word (language and identity are an important theme of the book). The deadpan delivery of Ramsey's countless fantastic lines alone are worth the listen (Irena: "I'm still waiting for my apology!" Ramsey: "A bird could go grey waiting for the likes of that.").

My quibble with the story is that the "parallel universe" format, while utterly ingenious and brilliantly executed, can get a bit tiresome. I caught myself trying to predict when and how scenes would be repeated, and some of them felt a bit contrived. Having said that, I'm probably overly critical because I'm used to Lionel Shriver's genius - had the book been written by anyone else I'd have been too awe-struck to find fault with it.

Do listen to this! Whether you hate or love the characters, you'll want to start over at the end because you'll miss them so much.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

PARALLEL UNIVERSES

What a great read (listen). I always enjoy this author's dry, unflashy style, and this book is one of her best.
The reader was excellent too.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A thoughtful either/or

Enjoyable and well written. Nevertheless some authorial attitudes refuse to blend seamlessly into the novel.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredibly thought provoking

A story that stimulated profound reflection on own life and loves . . . .