Lionel Shriver taunts the ‘culture police’ and more in her new book

Veteran novelists usually have a particular, predictable asset — a knack for characterization, clever plotting, a distinctive style. Lionel Shriver, though, is oddly

unpredictable — and that’s what keeps her interesting. She seems to actively resist satisfying expectations. Her fiction has moved from the provocative “We Need to Talk

About Kevin” (2003), about the mother of a school shooter, to the more intimate “Big Brother” (2013), about a woman caring for her morbidly obese sibling, to the wildly

high-concept near-future dystopia “The Mandibles” (2016). Her 2020 novel, “The Motion of a Body Through Space” is a satire about the fitness industry. Review: "The Motion of

the Body Through Space" “Abominations,” Shriver’s first book of nonfiction, is more predictable. Throughout this collection of written-to-order essays, speeches and op-eds,

she assumes single tone: provocateur. Whether she’s talking about Brexit (which she supported), cultural appropriation (“a contrived taboo”) or taxes (“the criminalization of

making money”), Shriver is ever the contrarian. And for the most part, she doesn’t seem to care that about the consequences of ruffling feathers: “Bring on the ridicule,” she

taunts, “I’d welcome being laughed at, so long as I’m spared any real-life manifestations of the visions that haunt me.” Though she occasionally postures as being chilled by PC

scolds, she mostly sells herself as comfortably delivering opinions that are “underexpressed, unpopular, or downright dangerous.”