“CABBAGES ARE IMPORTANT…” MAR 25 1.02PM

What do they say? You should never meet your heroes?
What tosh.
Lionel Shriver was EVEN more brilliant and articulate than I ever imagined she’d be. And perhaps more importantly, warm, funny and deliciously self-deprecating.
From the heart and mind of someone who’s penned - among other novels - ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin”, “So Much for That” and her latest, “The Mandibles”, it was genuinely revelatory to see someone so relaxed, so comfortable and so…witty.
In Oxford to talk about “The Mandibles’, a dystopian tale of near future economic collapse, she admitted, gleefully, that she had experienced “almost a festive quality in bringing the whole of the United States to its knees.”
“After all,” she added, the scale of catastrophe in my previous novels had been very small and intimate so this was a riot!”
She also let slip, as she warmed to her audience, that her working title for “Kevin” was… wait for it… “Cradle to Grave”.
“If I’d stuck with that,” she admitted, “I probably wouldn’t be sitting her now.”
With “Mandibles” she says she strived for an “everyday apocalyptic feel” and admitted that cabbages - and their price - is integral part of its plot device.
For someone who prefers Kale, this came as something of a shock but I’ve bought the book all the same.