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Shriver, Lionel Double Fault ISBN 13: 9780385488303

Double Fault - Hardcover

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9780385488303: Double Fault
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An ardent middle-ranked professional tennis player, Willy Novinsky meets her match in Eric Oberdorf, the handsome rogue she drubs in a pick-up game in Manhattan's Riverside Park. Eric is charmingly gracious in defeat, and his casual confidence takes her in. 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.
Conjugal life starts well on the Upper West Side of New York. 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 just as her husband becomes the upstart darling of the tennis circuit. Ultimately Eric plays in the U.S. 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.
Taut as match-point, Double Fault chronicles a marriage imploded by ambition. Just as Richard Yates exposed the dangers of traditional marriage in Revolutionary Road, Lionel Shriver reveals the hazards of a two career relationship. A brilliant novel about the price both men and women pay for prizing achievement over love.

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About the Author:
Lionel Shriver's books include The Post-Birthday World, Game Control, and the Orange Prize-winning We Need to Talk About Kevin. She writes frequently for the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The Independent. She lives in London.
From Kirkus Reviews:
Fully using the strongest part of her game--psychological insight--Shriver (The Bleeding Heart, 1990, etc.) tracks the fleeting joy and prolonged despair of a young couple, both rising tennis stars, who find their love imperiled by one another's fierce urge to win. ``Love me, love my game,'' says petite, 23-year-old Willy to lanky Eric on their second meeting, after a first encounter in Manhattan's Riverside Park in which Willy cleaned his clock. She's played since she was five and is ranked in the 400's; he's played less than four years, having discovered tennis at 18, but he already has a ranking himself. The pair's mutual attraction turns to romance, and they marry within the year, knowing that being on tour will offer few chances for them to be together. Willy is prepared to suffer Eric's envy as she advances, but she isn't ready for him to season his game as quickly as he does. On their first anniversary, he wins against her for the first time; six months later, they play in a showcase tournament for new talent and he wins his match while she chokes at match point in a humiliating loss. Not long after, in a funk over her mental state, Willy seriously injures her knee. Even when she resumes playing, she's unable to turn things around, while Eric, with a few lucky breaks but also inspired play, moves to the international circuit and continues to win. He's unable to do well in Willy's eyes, however, no matter how hard he tries, and the marriage quickly goes from rocky to ruinous. Willy discovers that she's pregnant just as Eric is preparing to play in the US Open; her announcement of what should have been happy news creates a new crisis, which proves to be the last straw. A persistently melodramatic tone doesn't disguise the tragedy in this moving, resonant tale of two sparkling careers and two decent people unable to live in harmony. -- Copyright 1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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  • PublisherDoubleday
  • Publication date1997
  • ISBN 10 0385488300
  • ISBN 13 9780385488303
  • BindingHardcover
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages336
  • Rating
    3.23 avg rating
    ( 2,563 ratings by Goodreads )

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