Big Brother

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"Shriver is brilliant on the novel shock that is hunger. . . . With honesty, precision and humour, she conveys all the boredom and exhilaration of weight loss, along with its tendency to threaten the people around you." -Guardian

From the New York Times bestselling author Lionel Shriver, a striking novel about siblings, marriage, and obesity

When Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at the Iowa airport, she doesn't recognize him. In the four years since she last saw him, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened? And it's not just the weight. Edison breaks her husband Fletcher's handcrafted furniture, makes overkill breakfasts for the family, and entices her stepson not only to forgo college but to drop out of high school. After Edison has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: it's him or me. But which loyalty is paramount, that of a wife or a sister? For without Pandora's support, surely Edison will eat himself into an early grave.

Rich with Shriver's distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat-an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much we are obligated to help members of our families, and whether it's ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.


I have to wonder whether any of the true highlights of my fortysome years have had to do with food. I don’t mean celebratory dinners, good fellowship; I mean salivation, mastication, and peristalsis. ...

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