Should We Stay or Should We Go (Paperback)
  • Should We Stay or Should We Go (Paperback)
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Should We Stay or Should We Go (Paperback)

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£8.99
Paperback 288 Pages
Published: 31/03/2022
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Waterstones Says

A couple of medical professionals scarred by the slow decline of parents and patients decide on a suicide pact when they both turn eighty in this sardonic yet compassionate satire that imagines a dozen different scenarios for its two protagonists.

When her father dies, Kay Wilkinson can't cry. Over ten years, Alzheimer's had steadily eroded this erudite man. Surely one's own father passing should never come as such a relief?

Both healthy and vital medical professionals in their early fifties, Kay and her husband Cyril have seen too many of their elderly NHS patients in similar states of decay. Determined to die with dignity, Cyril makes a modest proposal: they should agree to commit suicide together once they've both turned eighty. When their deal is sealed in 1991, the spouses are blithely looking forward to another three decades together.

But then they turn eighty.

By turns hilarious and touching, playful and grave, Should We Stay or Should We Go portrays twelve parallel universes, each exploring a possible future for Kay and Cyril, from a purgatorial Cuckoo's-Nest-style retirement home to the discovery of a cure for ageing, from cryogenic preservation to the unexpected pleasures of dementia.

Weaving in a host of contemporary issues - Brexit, mass migration, the coronavirus - Lionel Shriver has pulled off a rollicking page-turner in which we never have to mourn deceased characters, because they'll be alive and kicking in the very next chapter.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008458607
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 200 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

‘An acerbically funny thought experiment… A contrarian on the page as well as in real life, Shriver is on fine form here, messing with her character’s lives while asking the big questions about mortality with a rigorous lack of sentimentality’ The Times books of the year ‘There’s something bracing about reading a novelist so admirably heartless, watching her pull the legs off her characters again and again… I think Shriver’s novels are wonderful… fun, smart and, perhaps because of their author’s unconventional political views, unlike anything else you’ll read’ Financial Times ‘A work of undeniable moral seriousness, yet one that’s never just a series of (admittedly juicy) discussion points. Even the most fantastical outcomes are envisaged with exhilarating thoroughness — while Cyril and Kay remain the same richly conceived characters throughout. Despite the grimness of the premise, the book also offers the stirring sight of a writer clearly enjoying herself’ The Times ‘It’s hideous — but also hilarious. Through the potent spell of Shriver’s language, horror gets alchemised into amusement. Fiery phrases spit and crackle. Disgust expands and bursts into belly laughs… a very funny book’ Sunday Times ‘After a (pun intended) deathly start, Shriver’s typically provocative novel manages to be both entertaining and poignant, with the novelist even poking fun at herself as she questions what makes a good innings. It might (almost) be a beach read’ Daily Mail ‘Shriver uses a ‘parallel universe’ structure to explore various outcomes – and somehow makes conversations about death feel far from taboo’ Sunday Telegraph ‘Some books become so popular that the lucky author can thereafter churn out any old cobblers, confident in the knowledge that it will be published and find an audience. Lionel Shriver never took that easy route’ Irish Independent

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Hardback

“This will absolutely cause debate!”

Thank you to the publishers for this early review copy.
I loved it and flew through this in one sitting.
Maybe however chapter 7 should come with a warning though? That was quite a turn up in events.
Superbly well... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 23

“Should We Stay or Should We Go”

My first thoughts about this book were along the lines of - finally, a book which manages to include the covid pandemic, not be about the pandemic, but also still works as a novel. Maybe that says more about me than... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 17

“A darkly funny, tragic, political, and personal novel looking at what happens to us in old age”

I was happy to receive a copy of this book from LoveReading as I’ve read and enjoyed previous books by Lionel Shriver. It’s a darkly funny, tragic, political, and personal novel looking at what happens to us in old... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 15

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