Leave Before You Go by Emily Perkins

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Leave Before You Go is about Daniel, an average guy whose determination to escape the daily grind of London drives him to risk his life. Lured by a free trip and the promise of ten thousand dollars, Daniel boards a plane to pick up a "delivery" for an acquaintance. Shortly after his plane lands, he finds himself trafficking heroin from Thailand, penniless, and paranoid on the other side of the world.

Daniel's misadventures as a drug smuggler leads him into the netherworld of grungy hostels and casinos in New Zealand, where he wins--and loses--a fortune in one night. Reduced to petty thievery, he must beg, borrow, and steal in order to live from hand to mouth. His desperate searches for shelter and employment steer him in many directions, all of which seem to lead directly to Kate.

Kate works as a disgruntled usher in a cinema in Auckland, constantly drifting in the shadow of her more successful sister, Nina. As she wrestles with what to do with her life, she contends with some not-so-latent feelings for her ex-boyfriend, Frank. When Daniel arrives unexpectedly to stay with her best friends, Lucy and Josh, Kate suspects that she has seen him somewhere before. Wasn't he the stranger she caught sneaking into the cinema? Or was he the one she'd noticed shoplifting at the bookstore? Only when Daniel moves into her ex-boyfriend's empty apartment does Kate begin to piece together some of the coincidences that have brought them together.

With humor and insight, Leave Before You Go charts the seeming randomness of relationships in early adulthood. When Daniel's and Kate's worlds collide, their relationship offers a witty portrait of a new kind of lost generation.


About Emily Perkins

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Emily Perkins is the author of "Not Her Real Name," a collection of short stories that won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the John Lewellyn Rhys Prize, and the novels "Leave Before You Go" and "The New Girl," She lives in New Zealand.
Published May 1, 2000 by Ecco Pr. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Leave Before You Go

Kirkus Reviews

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If the world needs another Bret Easton Ellis, New Zealand author Perkins could be a contender.

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Publishers Weekly

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Perkins's fresh and clever narrative is propelled by effects like the zinging, one-liner dialogue between Kate and Lucy, and the Jaws music (dum dum dum dum) that follows Nina everywhere she goes.

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Austin Chronicle

She sleeps the sleep of the grieving, of the jilted, the deep denying sleep of someone who needs sensory deprivation, of someone who doesn't want to be themselves."

Jun 09 2000 | Read Full Review of Leave Before You Go

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