Author(s): Lionel Shriver
Fat and ostracized as a kid, Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular. When he's offered the post of foreign correspondent in a Portuguese backwater that has sprouted a homegrown terrorist movement, Edgar recognizes the disappeared larger-than-life reporter he's been sent to replace, Barrington Saddler, as exactly the outsize character he longs to emulate. Infuriatingly, all his fellow journalists cannot stop talking about the beloved Bear, who is no longer lighting up their work lives. Yet all is not as it appears. Os Soldados Ousados de Barba - The Daring Soldiers of Barba - have been blowing up the rest of the world for years in order to win independence for a province so dismal, backward, and windblown that you couldn't give the rat hole away. So why, with Barrington vanished, do terrorist incidents claimed by the SOB suddenly dry up?
A droll, playful novel set in an alternative past on a fictional European peninsula, The New Republic is a fast-paced, plot-driven thriller. Addressing weighty issues like terrorism with a deft, tongue-in-cheek touch, Shriver presses the more intimate question: What makes charismatic people so magnetic, while the rest of us inspire a shrug? What's their secret? And in the end, who has the better life - the admired, or the admirer?
Lionel Shriver's books include The Post-Birthday World, Double Fault, Game Control and the Orange Prize-winning We Need To Talk About Kevin. She writes frequently for the Wall Street Journal, The Guardianand The Independent. She lives in London.