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September 21, 2017

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Author Shriver looks at terrorism with droll humor

NEW YORK, Reuters--International best-selling novelist Lionel Shriver's latest book was released on Thursday, but it isn't exactly new. She wrote it over 10 years ago.

"The New Republic" follows Shriver's best-selling works like "The Post-Birthday World" as well as "We Need to Talk About Kevin," the 2011 movie starring Tilda Swinton for which she was nominated for a best actress Golden Globe.

"The New Republic" tells the story of a corporate lawyer-turned-freelance journalist Edgar Kellogg who takes an assignment reporting about a fictional terrorist group on a Portuguese peninsula after the celebrated reporter before him mysteriously disappears.

As Edgar tries to prove his journalism chops and unravel the mystery surrounding his predecessor's demise, he also struggles to fill the social void left by the charismatic man who came before him and come to terms with his own shortcomings.

When she first wrote "The New Republic," Shriver, 54, said her then-modest sales record and what she perceived as America's disinterest in terrorism, in general, before the September 11 attacks made it impossible to find a publisher. Of course, much has changed since then — except for the book itself.

Shriver, who has shown a knack for anticipating hot topics like school shootings, maternal ambivalence and the complexities of healthcare in the U.S., said her original manuscript remains largely intact.

"If you're trying too hard to be super contemporary, you get overtaken by events," she told Reuters. "The world moves on."

Shiver said she waited until after the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to release the novel because she feared that her light approach might be seen as being in poor taste.

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