Perfect

Perfect

A Novel

eBook - 2013
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A spellbinding novel that will resonate with readers of Mark Haddon, Louise Erdrich, and John Irving, Perfect tells the story of a young boy who is thrown into the murky, difficult realities of the adult world with far-reaching consequences.

Byron Hemmings wakes to a morning that looks like any other: his school uniform draped over his wooden desk chair, his sister arguing over the breakfast cereal, the click of his mother's heels as she crosses the kitchen. But when the three of them leave home, driving into a dense summer fog, the morning takes an unmistakable turn. In one terrible moment, something happens, something completely unexpected and at odds with life as Byron understands it. While his mother seems not to have noticed, eleven-year-old Byron understands that from now on nothing can be the same.

What happened and who is to blame? Over the days and weeks that follow, Byron's perfect world is shattered. Unable to trust his parents, he confides in his best friend, James, and together they concoct a plan. . . .

As she did in her debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce has imagined bewitching characters who find their ordinary lives unexpectedly thrown into chaos, who learn that there are times when children must become parents to their parents, and who discover that in confronting the hard truths about their pasts, they will forge unexpected relationships that have profound and surprising impacts. Brimming with love, forgiveness, and redemption, Perfect will cement Rachel Joyce's reputation as one of fiction's brightest talents.

Praise for Perfect

"Touching, eccentric . . . Joyce does an inviting job of setting up these mysterious circumstances, and of drawing Byron's magical closeness with Diana." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Haunting . . . compelling." --Minneapolis Star Tribune

"[Joyce] triumphantly returns with Perfect . . . . As Joyce probes the souls of Diana, Byron and Jim, she reveals--slowly and deliberately, as if peeling back a delicate onion skin--the connection between the two stories, creating a poignant, searching tale." -- O: The Oprah Magazine

" Perfect touches on class, mental illness, and the ways a psyche is formed or broken. It has the tenor of a horror film, and yet at the end, in some kind of contortionist trick, the narrative unfolds into an unexpected burst of redemption. [Verdict:] Buy It." -- New York

"Joyce's dark, quiet follow-up to her successful debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, could easily become a book club favorite. . . . Perfect is the kind of book that blossoms under thoughtful examination, its slow tendencies redeemed by moments of loveliness and insight. However sad, Joyce's messages--about the limitations of time and control, the failures of adults and the fears of children, and our responsibility for our own imprisonment and freedom--have a gentle ring of truth to them." -- The Washington Post

"There is a poignancy to Joyce's narrative that makes for her most memorable writing." --NPR's All Things Considered
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2013
ISBN: 9780679645122
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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p
pandawynne
May 01, 2015

100 pages in. LovIng this. Not a happy little read, but illyminating and sympathetic portrayal of mental illness, feminism etc

p
Pisinga
Apr 21, 2015

The book is written with a wonderful language, talented.
Chapters of the book in which the events take place in the present, I found quite tedious.
It may sound blasphemous, but it is absolutely not my
intention, but in general, the plot of the book - it kind of "too much of nothing".
Off course, I mean - "Nothing" in this case - is a loose concept.

j
JMFreads
Dec 01, 2014

I loved this story. I thought it was an excellently written novel. I am eager to read Joyce's Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

l
lizhelboe
Aug 29, 2014

This book is difficult to rate because I think it is a good book club selection but not one I would recommend to a friend to read. It lends itself well for discussion with themes of mental illness, fate, and the ambiguity of some of the story line. It is a well written book with lots of layers in the story but the overall feel of the book is a bit depressing.

g
GMMacKelvie
May 23, 2014

I borrowed this, having enjoyed Joyce's Unlikely Pilgrimage (which I found lovely). However, anyone even a bit susceptible to anxiety may find this read unbearable. What seemed a relentlessly growing thread of hallucinations and misunderstandings had me wanting to return the book asap. I stuck it out to see how it ended, and was left with a sense of grim pointlessness. Perhaps that was the point?

m
Mothercat
Feb 02, 2014

I found this a sad little book overall, and think I enjoyed her Harold Fry story more - still worth reading, though.

s
SPL_Laura
Dec 20, 2013

Enjoyed her first novel more but this was still entertaining though much darker. Looking forward to whatever Joyce writes next but hoping it will be a bit more hopeful.

p
pinkcar
Dec 17, 2013

A powerful, compassionate story that includes a portrait of a man struggling with OCD. The marriage depicted in the first half of the book is one of the most chilling ever written. I read this beautifully written novel in two sittings, the psychological tension was terrific. Great commentary on class, money, family and mental illness.

ohtethys Dec 10, 2013

After the funny, optimistic book that was the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I was so looking forward to this new novel. Unfortunately, I just found it to be so sad with none of the humour and inspiration to balance it out.

a
AllisonCasa
Nov 25, 2013

I found it to be a bit predictable. Interesting read but not as good as I thought it would be.

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