Nature or nurture: what makes a monster? Tackling the ultimate tabooo - that a mother can't dislike her own child - a brutally compelling book that encourages the reader to engage with a most contested moral dilemma
Like all fine novels, this is not a book of sociological generalisations. It is a book about individuals: in this case a suburban family of four. Kevin Khatchadourian killed several of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher, shortly before his sixteenth birthday. He is visited in prison by his mother, Eva, who narrates in a series of letters to her estranged husband, Franklin, the story of Kevin's upbringing. A successsful career woman, Eva is reluctant to forgo her independence and the life she shares with Franklin to become a mother. Once Kevin is born, she experiences extreme alienation and dislike of Kevin as he grows up to become a spiteful and cruel child. When Kevin commits his murderous act, Eva fears that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become. But how much is she to blame?
5 CDs Running time 6 hours 25 minutes
Featured on BBC1's Page Turners Winner - Orange Prize for Fiction 2005. Jenni Murray, Chair of Judges, said: '[this] book that acknowledges what many women worry about but never express - the fear of becoming a mother and the terror of what kind of child one might bring into the world. It's a very courageous book which will resonate with everyone who has had a child or thought about having one.' 200,000 copies sold in trade paperback Shortlisted for Worldbooks Crime Thriller of the Year award (British Book Awards)
Winner of Orange Prize for Fiction 2005. Runner-up for Reading Group Book of the Year 2007. Shortlisted for British Book Awards: Crime Thriller of the Year 2006.
'an outstanding reading by Lorelei King who captures all the anger, shock, dismay - but never denial - that Eva Khatchadourian experiences when her 15-year-old son slays nine people at his high school. 'Gripping' is an over-used adjective - but not here, as Eva explores her feelings in a series of letters to the husband who hasn't lived with her since the day of the killings.' -- Kati Nicholl DAILY EXPRESS 'This icily forensic, deeply disturbing story takes the form of letters from the mother of a brilliant, evil, teenage murderer to her husband, recounting her prison visits and remembering the circumstances of his upbringing. Lorelei King is the queen of readers: she brings to this performance sharp intelligence and a perfect, weary restraint, building up to the fearsome denouement that freezes the blood.' -- Sue Gaisford INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'may work better as an abridged audiobook than as a novel. Some critics have said that Shriver overwrites but there doesn't seem to be a wasted word as Lorelei King narrates the harrowing tale of a 15-year-old archer who kills seven of his classmates.' -- Christina Hardyment THE TIMES 'Lorelei King is once again the consummate reader. There is no faulting her performance, as she brings every character to life, making you feel the horror that is central to this story.' -- Emma Fisher OTTAKARS (staff review) 'brilliant, especially Lorelei King's reading.' -- Sue Arnold GUARDIAN
Lorelei King has worked on film in House of Mirth and Notting Hill. Television includes Cold Feet, Jonathan Creek and Monarch of the Glen. She was voted Female Performer of the Year at the Spoken Word Awards 2001 and her many audio book readings have been acclaimed. She has read several books for Orion including We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Lionel Shriver is a novelist and has written for The Economist, the Wall Street Journal and the Philadelphia Enquirer, among other publications. She currently writes a weekly column for the Guardian.Born in the US, Shriver has lived in Nairobi, Bangkok and Belfast. She is married to a jazz drummer and is based in London and New York.Her earlier novels include The Female of the Species, Ordinary Decent Criminals, A Perfectly Good Family and Game Control. We Need to Talk About Kevin is her seventh novel.