Cover image for Property : stories between two novellas
Property : stories between two novellas
Shriver, Lionel, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
317 pages ; 24 cm
Standing chandelier : a novella -- Self-seeding sycamore -- Domestic terrorism -- Royal male -- Exchange rates -- Kilifi Creek -- Repossession -- ChapStick -- Negative equity -- Vermin -- Paradise to perdition -- Subletter : a novella.
"Ten short stories and two novellas that explores the idea of property in every meaning of the word ... These pieces illustrate how our possessions act as proxies for ourselves, and how tussles over ownership articulate the power dynamics of our relationships"


Call Number
Material Type
Alfred Box of Books Library 1 FIC SHR Adult Fiction Book
Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 FIC SHR Adult Fiction Book

On Order



A striking new collection of ten short stories and two novellas that explores the idea of property in every meaning of the word, from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award finalist So Much for That and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Intermingling settings in America and Britain, Lionel Shriver's first collection explores property in both senses of the word: real estate and stuff. These pieces illustrate how our possessions act as proxies for ourselves, and how tussles over ownership articulate the power dynamics of our relationships. In Lionel Shriver's world, we may possess people and objects and places, but in turn they possess us.

In the stunning novella "The Standing Chandelier," a woman with a history of attracting other women's antagonism creates a deeply personal wedding present for her best friend and his fiancée--only to discover that the jealous fiancée wants to cut her out of their lives. In "Domestic Terrorism," a thirty-something son refuses to leave home, resulting in a standoff that renders him a millennial cause célèbre. In "The ChapStick," a middle-aged man subjugated by service to his elderly father discovers that the last place you should finally assert yourself is airport security. In "Vermin," an artistic Brooklyn couple's purchase of a ramshackle house destroys their once-passionate relationship. In "The Subletter," two women, both foreign conflict junkies, fight over a claim to a territory that doesn't belong to either.

Exhibiting a satisfying thematic unity unusual for a collection, this masterful work showcases the biting insight that has made Shriver one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

Author Notes

Lionel Shriver was born Margaret Ann Shriver on May 18, 1957 in Gastonia, North Carolina. She changed her first name because of her preference for it. She was educated at Barnard College, and Columbia University (BA, MFA). She has lived in Nairobi, Bangkok and Belfast, and currently lives in London. Shriver wrote seven novels and published six (one novel could not find a publisher) before writing We Need to Talk About Kevin, which she called her "make or break" novel. She won the 2005 Orange Prize for her eighth published novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, a thriller and close study of maternal ambivalence, and the role it might have played in the title character's decision to murder nine people at his high school. The book created a lot of controversy, and achieved success through word of mouth. The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 was published in May 2016.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In Shriver's (The Mandibles, 2016) collection, precisely depicted characters laud and lament the nuanced specificities of their property, power, and possessions and any corresponding lacks thereof. Not surprisingly, real estate is a theme, as in Vermin, where a couple's purchase of the New York apartment they'd been happily renting for years signals a disconcerting change in the husband, and Repossession, in which a meddlesome ghost is a small price to pay for an underpriced home in an upward-trending London neighborhood. Personal standing is also put under a magnifying lens, as in a millennial's refusal to vacate his parents' home despite their increasingly desperate efforts, or an expat's outrage that his cheapskate father would use him to exchange pounds back to dollars to skirt a nominal fee. In the two bookending novellas, women realize just how valuable something is only after they've given it away. Award-winning Shriver's enthusiastic audience will delight in her clever and literary analyses of the spaces we occupy, and how they're all too often no broader than a knife's edge.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2018 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The wry and nimble novellas and stories in this collection by Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) focus on how homes and objects shape the lives of those who own them. The collection, which concentrates on middle-class Brits and Americans, is bookended by two richly detailed and sardonic novellas. In the first, "The Standing Chandelier," a freelance web designer's relationship with his girlfriend is tested after his high-strung ex-girlfriend gives them a gift that dominates their house. In the concluding novella, "The Subletter," an American journalist who has been making a meager living in Belfast for years is brought to the edge of a breakdown when she has to share her apartment with an ambitious young subletter. In between, mordant tales touch down in the lives of a young American making herself at home in an African household ("Kilifi Creek"), a recent widow discovering that her late husband had done more than she thought to take care of a seemingly simple garden ("The Self-Seeding Sycamore"), and a slacker whose parents find him impossible to uproot from the household ("Domestic Terrorism"). Shriver's stories will make readers laugh when they feel they shouldn't, and the uniting theme of houses and humans works exceedingly well, turning up new wrinkles with each successive story. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Shriver (The Mandibles) has a reputation for being arrogant and combative, traits she shares with a number of protagonists in this first collection, and she makes good use of those characters. The collection opens with Jillian, in "The Standing Chandelier," contemplating why she is so widely disliked and ends with judgmental Sara in "The Subletter." Sara's pettiness keeps her isolated, stuck, and, by novella's end, unemployed in Northern Ireland. The property in "Property" is real estate, and homes and housing play a major role in many of the pieces. In "The Self-Seeding Sycamore," neighbors fight over a tree spanning two back yards. "Domestic Terrorism" features an adult child who refuses to move out of his parents' basement; the married couple in "Negative Equity" breaks up during a housing crisis but can't afford to move out of the house; and an artistic couple in "Vermin" watch their marriage fall apart after buying their funky rental house in Brooklyn and starting to renovate. VERDICT Whether unlikable or likable yet behaving badly, Shriver's characters are complex and well drawn, and the pieces here are all engaging. Recommended for readers of short fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 10/16/17.]-Pamela Mann, St. Mary's Coll. Lib., MD © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

The Standing Chandelier: A Novellap. 1
The Self-Seeding Sycamorep. 80
Domestic Terrorismp. 94
The Royal Malep. 126
Exchange Ratesp. 132
Kilifi Creekp. 147
Repossessionp. 163
The ChapStickp. 178
Negative Equityp. 197
Verminp. 209
Paradise to Perditionp. 228
The Subletter: A Novellap. 242

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