In an English seaside town, lovers and children, young men and middle-aged women, weave in and out of each other's lives and stories.
A mother is tormented by her daughter's tattoo; another only pretends to love her baby. A wife stalks her husband and his new lover; a broken egg through a letterbox tells a story that will not go away; the cat thinks he knows best. Threaded throughout are longings for love and poignant disappointments, surprising pleasures and temptations. Some will fall but some, like the small boy at the circus who sees his babysitter fly past on a trapeze wearing little more than a blue bra and spangles, will retain their feeling of awe.
PERFECT LIVES, follows Polly Samson's rapturously received first collection, LYING IN BED. They are rueful, knowing, witty, poignant, bashful, bold. Her genius is in the nuance.
|Product dimensions:||5.52(w) x 8.29(h) x 0.64(d)|
About the Author
Polly Samson was born in London. Her previous collection, Lying in Bed, was followed by a novel, Out of the Picture. She also writes lyrics.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Well written stories with interesting themes and structures. I enjoyed reading all of the stories and know I'll read them again. After analyzing The Egg and Leaving Hamburg, I consider both among my favorite short stories. I'm looking forward to reading Lying in Bed and Out of the Picture which I ordered before I'd read half of the stories in this collection.
Eleven interconnected stories set in the bucolic English seaside town in which everyone is a little skewed and searching ...for love, belonging, pleasures, and more Lately I've had a love affair with wry, enchanting short stories that bring to mind nature and our connection to it--and also the inner lives of deliciously flawed characters. PERFECT LIVES (Bloomsbury, 2010) by Polly Samson absolutely fits the bill. Her writing is keenly observed in the nuances of family life and also the small town feel of this enmeshed seaside community. There's a broken egg dropped through a mail slot, a boy who glances his babysitter at a circus on a trapeze, a struggling postpartum mother, a piano tuner, some gorgeous architecture, and more. The stories meander and trail along in a fashion that is both exquisite and nuanced, and at times, I struggled to find the connections between them, but characters do resurface, and like a true-life village, 'bump' into one another time and time again. Samson's strength lies in details and observations. It made me want to be a voyeur on Evrika Street. PERFECT LIVES may not be very long--my edition is 194 pages--but the prose is dense and the stories deep, leaving a residue. It's not the kind of book you read in a rush; take your time to savor, and perhaps re-read, looking for themes and motifs, because they are most certainly there. I was reminded a bit by stories by Lucia Berlin A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN with a touch of Helen Phillips and a dash of Karen Russell. L.Lindsay|Always with a Book
A wonderful collection of interlinked short stories, all on the theme of how dissatisfaction and struggle is just beneath the surface of outwardly comfortable life, how the past can cast long shadows on our lives, and how the shadows might be overcome. One star deducted for being a bit too middle class.