Thursday, January 19, 2012
Lionel Shriver, the author of the literary (and now cinematographic) blockbuster We Need To Talk About Kevin is an American. And, like many Americans in the post 9/11 era, she is fearful. In the afterword to the book which was first published in America in 2003, she admits that her biggest fear is children, or rather, parenthood. Reflecting on pregnancy, she remarks: ‘Since just about any stranger could come knocking nine months later, coitus without contraception is, as Eva [her central character] observes “like leaving your front door unlocked.”’ The novel is a testament to this, and what many people would describe as a seemingly irrational, immature, or specifically female response to what should be the most natural thing in the world. But, as with all texts, there is a subtext. This review will try to argue that what seem to be irrational fears such as Shriver’s are largely the offspring of a system that is corrupted, broken and fundamentally in decline.