Game Control

I read this based on someone’s recommendation, and the fact that We Need To Talk About Kevin was incredible. Game Control is great in a lot of similar ways; the subject matter is controversial and taboo according to social norms. The frank acknowledgment of the darkness that can be found in humanity is intriguing, just as we find the horror of a car crash fascinating, and cannot look away.

The characters she portrays are anything but boring and manage to cover a full spectrum of familiar human emotion. Additionally, the moral issues which this book in particular raises are incredibly complex- you find yourself agreeing with several conflicting positions simultaneously in an attempt to solve that which may be beyond our control.

The main thread behind the novel reflects a typically human trait to interpret evidence in a way which benefits the interpreter; in this case the AIDs outbreak is viewed as a catastrophe or just a drop in the ocean depending on the field in which it is discussed. Our failure to remain objective about facts leads to interpretations which can build or break civilisations, yet we refuse to face this truth about ourselves, and this remains a psychological quirk of our species.

If this doesn’t make the book sound appealing, I should also mention that it is very funny as well, which balances the more serious issues it tackles. Few books manage to make me laugh out loud, but this succeeded. Above all, Shriver makes you think- what more could you ask for?