PROP­ERTY

North & South - - Review -

LIONEL SHRIVER (HARPERCOLLINS, $ 32.99) We need to talk about Lionel Shriver’s new­est book, the Amer­i­can-born, Uk-based nov­el­ist’s first col­lec­tion of short sto­ries. As the ti­tle sug­gests, the theme is prop­erty – not just the bricks-and-mor­tar kind, but the way we live and the stuff we fill our homes with. In Shriver’s world, the places, ob­jects and people we pos­sess of­ten end up pos­sess­ing us, and the best­selling author uses the dozen sto­ries to prod the bruise of our ac­cu­mu­la­tive so­ci­ety.

I don’t have space here to dis­sect each story but the open­ing tale, “The Stand­ing Chan­de­lier”, which de­tails the re­la­tion­ship dy­nam­ics of a woman loathed by other women, is Shriver at her acer­bic best. The finest thing I’ve read so far this year. SHARON STEPHEN­SON

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