Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson
A Novel

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A little more clear-eyed realism might have redeemed this novel, but as it stands, it reads like the screenplay to some heartwarmingly twee movie with a ukulele soundtrack. It's a misstep by a writer who's capable of much better writing than this.
-NPR

Synopsis

“Wilson’s ambition alone is exciting. . . . [His] writing has a Houdini-like perfection, wherein no matter how grim the variables, each lovely sentence manages to escape with all its parts intact.” —Boston Globe

When Isabelle Poole meets Dr. Preston Grind, she’s fresh out of high school, pregnant with her art teacher's baby, and totally on her own. Izzy knows she can be a good mother but without any money or relatives to help, she’s left searching.

Dr. Grind, an awkwardly charming child psychologist, has spent his life studying family, even after tragedy struck his own.  Now, with the help of an eccentric billionaire, he has the chance to create a “perfect little world”—to study what would happen when ten children are raised collectively, without knowing who their biological parents are.  He calls it The Infinite Family Project and he wants Izzy and her son to join.


This attempt at a utopian ideal starts off promising, but soon the gentle equilibrium among the families disintegrates: unspoken resentments between the couples begin to fester; the project's funding becomes tenuous; and Izzy’s growing feelings for Dr. Grind make her question her participation in this strange experiment in the first place.

Written with the same compassion and charm that won over legions of readers with The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson shows us with grace and humor that the best families are the ones we make for ourselves.

 

About Kevin Wilson

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Kevin Wilson is the author of the collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, which received an Alex Award from the American Library Association and the Shirley Jackson Award. His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, One Story, the Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere, and has appeared in four volumes of the New Stories from the South: The Year's Best anthology. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the KHN Center for the Arts. He lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife, the poet Leigh Anne Couch, and his son, Griff, where he teaches fiction at the University of the South and helps run the Sewanee Writers' Conference.
 
Published January 24, 2017 by Ecco. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Perfect Little World
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NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Jan 29 2017

A little more clear-eyed realism might have redeemed this novel, but as it stands, it reads like the screenplay to some heartwarmingly twee movie with a ukulele soundtrack. It's a misstep by a writer who's capable of much better writing than this.

Read Full Review of Perfect Little World: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

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