The Standing Chandelier (2017): Lionel Shriver


This is the first book I’ve read by Lionel Shriver (except, of course, for We Need To Talk About Kevin) and so I came to it without many preconceptions. More novella than novel, it impressed me a great deal with its incisive and unsentimental view of human nature. We may not like the picture that Shriver reflects back at us, but her characters all feel so very convincing. It’s a story that many of us can easily imagine, even if we don’t have direct experience of it, because it starts with a friendship: an old friendship, of twenty years’ standing, between a woman, Jillian Frisk, and a man, Weston Babansky, and how their easy dynamic is challenged by the arrival of Weston’s girlfriend Paige.

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