Helen R Brown

A matter of life or death: Should We Stay or Should We Go, by Lionel Shriver, reviewed

Cyril and Kay, in their early fifties, make a pact to end their lives on Kay’s 80th birthday. But will they keep it?

Lionel Shriver. [Alamy]

Leave or remain? That’s the question hanging like a cartoon sledgehammer over Lionel Shriver’s 17th novel. Although she makes merry with the parallels, her subject isn’t Brexit. It’s how long a person should choose to live. Should we allow ourselves to shamble, with gentle optimism, into decades when mental and physical decay are statistical probabilities? Or should we Take Back Control, and off ourselves before revolted strangers are required to wash our private parts at great cost to our struggling NHS?

The characters Shriver charges with assessing the options are Cyril and Kay Wilkinson.

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