Friday, September 16, 2022


Abominations by Lionel Shriver
9/20/22; 304 pages

Abominations: Selected Essays from a Career of Courting Self-Destruction by Lionel Shriver is a very highly recommended collection of thirty-five opinion pieces.

Shriver is known for her sharp intellect, well-supported opinions, and perfectly chosen vocabulary. This is a superb collection covering more than two decades of some of her nonfiction selected from the Spectator, Guardian, New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, Wall Street Journal, as well as speeches, reviews, and unpublished pieces. Whether you agree with her on everything or nothing, Shriver clearly and succinctly makes her case and doesn't particularly care what others think about her opinion.

She is citizen of the U.S.A. who has lived in the U.K. for 30 years (12 years in Belfast), and shares opinions and thoughts on culture and politics concerning both countries. She does not shy away from opinions and thoughts that will be controversial. I appreciate this enormously. She clearly indicates which essays resulted in people trying to cancel her, not that she cares. Some of the pieces are lighter in tone than others, providing a nice mix.

As a proponent of free speech, she writes about what she thinks and would extend the same right to you. Topics covered include, in part: Brexit, religion, friends, fitness, taxes, cancel culture, wokeness, gender politics, semantics, trends in literature, the lockdown, tennis, cycling, nationalism, diversity, feelings, and more. Abominations is going to thrill fans of her fiction when she provides some insight into some of her novels, Big Brother being one example. I'm an ardent fan of her fiction and as I read these pieces I couldn't help but think, "Good for her." It is always refreshing to read someone expressing their firmly held personal beliefs in a logical, well-written manner and not care if any mob comes after them for it.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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