Author(s): Lionel Shriver
'Love me, love my game', says twenty-three year-old Willy Novinsky. Ever since she picked up a racquet at the age of four, tennis has been Willy's one love, until the day she meets Eric Oberdorf. She's a middle-ranked professional tennis player and he's a Princeton graduate who took up playing tennis at the age of eighteen. Low-ranked but untested, Eric, too, aims to make his mark on the international tennis circuit. Willy beholds compatibility spiced with friendly rivalry, and discovers her first passion outside a tennis court. They marry. Married life starts well, but animated shop talk and blissful love-making soon give way to full-tilt competition over who can rise to the top first. Driven and gifted, Willy maintains the lead until she severs her knee ligaments in a devastating spill. As Willy recuperates, her ranking plummets whilst her husband's climbs, until he is eventually playing in the US Open. Anguished at falling short of her lifelong dream and resentful of her husband's success, Willy slides irresistibly toward the first quiet tragedy of her young life.
"'An awesomely smart, stylish and pitiless achievement' Independent 'Taps into unspoken fears of maternal ambivalence that are not easily acknowledged and do not fit neatly into glossy magazine notions of female empowerment' Guardian Unlimited 'Harrowing, tense and thought-provoking, this is a vocal challenge to every accepted parenting manual you've ever read' Daily Mail 'An elegant psychological and philosophical investigation of culpability with a brilliant denouement' Observer"
Lionel Shriver is the author of seven novels, and has written extensively for the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Economist. She lives in London.