Perfect Lives by Polly Samson

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Polly Samson

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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.
 
Published February 21, 2011 by Virago UK. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Perfect Lives

The Guardian

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Polly Samson's new book of short stories is called Perfect Lives, a rather provocative title, I can't help thinking, given the bald facts of Samson's life, which does, at a glance, seem pretty perfect.

Nov 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

The Guardian

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The beauty of a short story is the way in which one moment in a life can ripple outwards, offering the reader a glimpse of the past and future that surround this snapshot.

Nov 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

The Guardian

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Not only do they live in a beautiful house in what he calls "the more decorative part" of an English seaside town – grand creamy architecture overlooking the shore – but they are the owners of a magnificent Bösendorfer concert piano.

Nov 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

The Guardian

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There is something both tender and desolate about this slow accretion of talismans: like charms that have lost their power to save, they come stripped of the assurances and associations of their past lives – empty vessels that speak only to the reader of the ineluctable distances between the char...

Nov 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

Publishers Weekly

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The perfect lives of Samson's characters living in an English seaside town tarnish under closer scrutiny.

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

Entertainment Weekly

Samson, author of the acclaimed 1999 story collection Lying in Bed (she is also the wife, coincidentally, of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour), mines the thoroughly imperfect lives of some dozen denizens of a British seaside town in Perfect Lives, a graceful, melancholy series of interlinking vignettes.

Jan 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

The Telegraph

On the day of her husband’s perfectly planned birthday party, Celia .

Dec 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

The Bookbag

The eleven short stories in Perfect Lives are about a group of people living in an English seaside town.

Nov 27 2010 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

Express

Samson writes: “The day stretched before her: a day with Danny was like being left in charge of a nuclear power plant, lonely and bleak, slightly nerve-racking, with lots of servicing and safety checks required.” Rose and her adult daughter are years down the line.

Nov 05 2010 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

Scotsman.com

I was like a woman demented reading Samson's new collection of short stories.

Nov 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

Metro

Book review: In Perfect Lives (Virago, £15.99), Polly Samson’s touch is light, lithe and often deadly – but there’s also an exuberance running wild in the book.

Nov 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

Artswrap

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;

| Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

Artswrap

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;

| Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

Spectator Book Club

Why do so many aspiring writers think it best to begin with the short story and graduate to the novel?

Nov 27 2010 | Read Full Review of Perfect Lives

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