What do you pack for the rest of your life? The explosive new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin Shepherd Knacker has been saving all his working life for a one way ticket away from the daily grind. When he sells his handyman business for $1million, 'The Afterlife' seems tantalisingly within reach. Yet his wife has concocted one reason after another why now isn't the time to go. Determined to take the plunge, Shep announces that he is leaving for an island off the coast of Tanzania: with or without her. However, Glynis has an announcement of her own -- she needs his health insurance. Illustrating how a marriage is both stressed and strengthened by medical crisis, So Much for That puts the uncomfortable fiscal question: how much is one life worth? Enlivened by Shriver's signature acerbity and political outrage, it's surely the funniest and most entertaining novel about illness and death one's ever likely to read.
A risk taker with a protean imagination, Shriver (The Post-Birthday World) has produced another dazzling, provocative novel, a witty and timely exploration of the failure of our health-care system. Shep Knacker's long-cherished plan to use the million dollars from the sale of his handyman business to retire to a tropical island receives a gut-wrenching blow when his wife, Glynis, is diagnosed with a rare cancer. Transformed into a full-time caregiver, the good-natured Shep is buoyed during the illness of self-centered, vindictive, and obnoxiously demanding Glynis by his working mate and best friend, Jackson Burdina, whose teenage daughter, Flicka, also has a terminal disease. Ironically, Glynis tenaciously clings to life, while Flicka, with whom she bonds, wants to end hers. Jackson, meanwhile, acutely conscious that he's going broke, rails pungently against government regulations and the insurance industry. A mouthpiece for the plight of middle-class workers, Jackson's diatribes about contemporary society—the medical, educational and banking systems, exorbitant taxation, political chicanery—ring painfully true. As Shep's Merrill-Lynch account dwindles and further medical calamities arise, Shriver twists the plot to raise suspense until the heart-lifting denouement. (Mar.)
- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (March 9, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061458589
- ISBN-13: 978-0061458583