Shriver

A Novel

Shriver

In this charming, clever, and darkly satiric novel set at a writers’ conference, one man finds himself caught in a whirlwind of literary pretention, a suspect in a criminal investigation, and hopelessly in love with a woman who thinks he’s someone else.

Mistaken for a famous but reclusive author of the same name, lonely Shriver attends a writers’ conference at a small Midwestern liberal arts college. Completely unfamiliar with the novel he supposedly wrote and utterly unprepared for the magnitude of the reputation that precedes him, Shriver is feted, fawned over, featured at stuffy literary panels, and barely manages to play it cool. Things quickly go awry when one of the other guest authors suddenly disappears and Shriver becomes a prime suspect in the investigation. Amidst eager fans, Shriver must contend with a persistent police detective, a pesky journalist determined to unearth his past, and a mysterious and possibly dangerous stalker who seems to know his secret. But most vexing of all, Shriver’s gone and fallen in love with the conference organizer, who believes he’s someone else.

When the “real” Shriver (or is he?) appears to claim his place among the literati, the conference—and Shriver’s world—threaten to unravel.

Filled with witty dialogue, hilarious antics, and a cast of bizarre and endearing characters, Shriver is at once a touching love story, a surreal examination of identity, and an affectionate tribute to the power of writing.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501119392 | 
  • September 2015
List Price $16.00
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Shriver includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Chris Belden. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

 

Introduction

When lonely Shriver receives a letter inviting him to attend a prestigious literary conference, he doesn’t realize he’s been confused for a famous, reclusive, Salinger-like author of the same name. He decides to attend and, once there, he is feted, fawned over, and featured at stuffy literary panels and readings by admirers who believe he is the famed novelist. Tensions begin to mount when one of the authors in attendance mysteriously goes missing, and the “real” Shriver (or so he claims to be) suddenly appears to stake his claim among the literati. The ensuing calamity forces Shriver to question everything he thought he knew, come face-to-face with his past, and fight for his future.

 

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Shriver pokes fun at the pretensions of contemporary writing culture by satirizing the superficiality of literary conferences—however, do you think there can be value to conferences of this sort? Do you think the academic see more

About the Author

Chris Belden
Author photo copyright Marion Ettlinger

Chris Belden

Chris Belden was born and raised in Canton, Ohio. He attended the University of Michigan, where he received a BA in Film & Video Studies. After college he worked lousy day jobs for several years while playing drums in the band The Slang. He later moved to New York City, where he worked in the publishing industry and started writing fiction in earnest. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including American Fiction, SN Review, and Skidrow Penthouse. He is coauthor of the feature film Amnesia, and has also written extensively for the stage. He received an MFA from the Fairfield University MFA Program, and has taught writing at Fairfield University, as well as at such nontraditional venues as senior centers, soup kitchens, and a maximum-security prison. Belden lives in Connecticut with his family.

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