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Not So Perfect: Stories [Paperback]

Nik Perring
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Jun 2010
22 short short stories; 22 not so perfect lives, where bird watchers come out at night, couples perform love surgery, and a woman is throwing up animals.

The extraordinary is everywhere, but an unsettling familiarity pervades.

Nik Perring's brilliant debut collection demonstrates the underestimated powers of brevity. Intricately crafted and filled with dark humour, his 22 stories examine the conundrums and contradictions of human relationships, and ask us what it is to be human at all.

Product details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Roastbooks Ltd (2 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906894078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906894078
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 12.8 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 738,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nik Perring is a short story writer, author, sometimes editor and occasional teacher of writing from the UK. His short stories have been widely published. He's the author of Not So Perfect (Roastbooks 2010), the co-author of Freaks! (TFP/HarperCollins 2012), and Beautiful Words will be published in April 2014.

Product Description


Playful, subversive, poetic and smart, Nik Perring's stories are
gems. Every one of them. --3:AM Magazine

Don't be fooled by the title, this collection of stories rubs shoulders with perfect storytelling on numerous occasions. --Joe Melia. Coordinator of the The Bristol Short Story Prize

About the Author

Nik Perring lives in Cheshire where he writes, mostly, short stories. He's been writing things since 2003, first contributing to magazines and newspapers before moving on to fiction. His first book, one for children, was published in 2006.

Nik's real love is short stories and his have been published widely, online and in print, in the UK and abroad, appearing in 3:AM, SmokeLong Quarterly, Word Riot and Metazen, amongst others. His stories have been read at events, been printed on fliers, and used as part of an educational creative writing course.

Not So Perfect is his first collection.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT SO PERFECT IS PERFECT! 6 Jun 2010
Not So Perfect: Stories

Twenty-two perfect short stories told with humour and a clever eye for the intricate detail of human frailty.

Nik Perring captures beautifully key moments of everyday life; communication, laughter, sadness, love and loss.
The emotions experienced, linger in the mind of the reader for many hours and days. My favourites are Shark Boy and Lump.
I suspect this is the first of many books from a rare talent - I certainly hope so! I highly recommend this book of short stories which pack an authentic emotional punch!

Christine Carmichael
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly Delicious 2 Jun 2010
My first impression of the book was how entirely gorgeous it is; the covers are artworks, the paper is thick, the font is pleasing and the size is just so unusual: square and begging to be gift-wrapped.

There are twenty-two stories in total, each tiny, complete slivers of life. The reader slices through at a tangent: details, snatches of conversation, brushstroke backgrounds are picked up on the way past.

Several of the stories spin around experimental concepts: a mechanical woman finds her perfect mate; a woman vomits animals; a gardener talks to his flowers, who listen; a man just fades away. You are trusted to not need explanation. For me they work as stories because you don't feel the need to ask why, although if you aren't a fan of the off-kilter this could be a drawback.

Other stories are more conventional. My favourite of these is 'Sobs', about two lonely people in adjoining hotel rooms.

Some stories are more successful than others, but all of them work as good flash fiction should: they are greater than the sum of their parts. In `Seconds are Ticking By' and `Shark Boy' I felt Nik Perring demonstrates just what flash fiction should be when it is perfect: they flew. Then they lodge themselves inside you and flutter for long after you've read them.

If this book were food it would be an exquisite plate of petits fours. You admire them and nibble at them, wary of guzzling or you'd finish too soon. They are perfectly delicious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT so perfect? Are you SURE? 29 April 2012
Nik Perring was a chap who I met at Congleton Library, which was hosting a special Literary Evening featuring local authors and writers. Hearing about his life and work made for enlightening discussion, and to hear him read one of his short stories was enough to make me want to check out this particular collection.

Not So Perfect features twenty-two of Nick's short stories. The premise is focusing on twenty-two extraordinary circumstances, with the lives of folks who are notably flawed, yet possess potential for hope, a capacity for love and can achieve happiness through confidence and if fate permits it.

All and each of the stories contained here are simple, yet rich in both variety and power. Every single story I read in Not So Perfect had a great impact on me, filling me with senses of hope, sadness, loss, tragedy, satisfaction, contentment, despair and elation. All in all, this very much reflects human nature and life itself, but nothing is overstated or contrived. It feels natural and plausible, ultimately making this book rather endearing.

Perring's short stories range from radical to grounded, packed with all kinds of wonderful metaphors, philosophies and real imaginative flair. The author's writing itself is wonderful and accessible. Anyone can pick up Not So Perfect and understand the meaning of Nik's message to the world. It's not only concise, it's just loaded with charm.

There's not a single dud story to be found in Not So Perfect, but the ones I would really recommend are "Kiss", "Shark Boy", "Not Nitro", "Watching, Listening", "My Heart's in a Box", "Two Old Women Watching in My Garden", "The Other Mr Panossian", "Sobs", "The Angel in the Car Park" and "Number 14". To me, these made for the most essential readings.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously? 23 May 2013
By L
I'm surprised at all the fuss over this book. Didn't like it. Didn't see the point in reading more than the 6 or 7 stories I tried before abandoning this. Ill stick to etgar keret.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Breath of Fresh Air 13 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this book and have read it over and over and I never read a book more than once. I love the book's squareness, its feel in my hands, its spare, cartoon squiggles, and of course, its stories. Much as I like short stories, a lot them are quite bleak these days, whereas these stories are simple and tender and although they can be quite surreal, somehow they are completely believable. Great stuff. I can't wait for the next collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tiny, quirky, heartwarming stories 4 Mar 2013
Nik Perring's collection of short stories has popped up on my blog ( a couple of times, but after a recent conversation with a friend I realised I'd never actually reviewed it. So, I re-read it a couple of days ago and here's what I think:

Not So Perfect is a collection of 22 short stories. They're very short - the shortest stories don't cover a page and the longest is maybe four or five sides long (and the book's only about the size of a CD case, so the pages aren't all that big). Most of them therefore fit very comfortably into the 'flash' bracket.

Nik's writing style is very clear and concise, perhaps even minimalist. He distils the events he describes to the bare essentials; there's no lingering, no flowery prose. If you're used to reading classics, or just more "traditional" writing, it can feel a little sparse at times, although there's a real warmth to it, too. In several of the stories, the characters aren't named, and only a few of them take place in a definite location. Flash fiction does put significant demands on the reader; there are a lot of blanks to fill in.

Nearly all the stories deal with relationships - whether they're just starting, stalling, or coming to an end. Some of the stories have strongly surreal or at least slightly skewed elements. There's a lot of sweetness, too - although sometimes it's concealed under a darker veneer.

I really enjoyed this collection, and having read it again, I found plenty of new aspects I'd missed the first time around. In a lot of flash fiction, I sometimes reach the end of a story and wonder if perhaps the author brought things to a close a little too soon, or left a bit too much out for me to be really sure I'd 'got' the point he was making.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Little Gem
Good things come in small packages. Not So Perfect is a tiny little square - 5 x 5 inches. But in this tiny package is a perfect collection of flash fiction. Read more
Published on 23 April 2011 by DMM
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious ammunition to fire at those who link brevity with...
These short short stories are glorious ammunition to fire at those who link brevity with insubstantiality. Read more
Published on 14 April 2011 by Tania Hershman
5.0 out of 5 stars Not So Perfect ? Oh I beg to differ
Nik Perring has a fantastic way of taking everyday situations, the ordinary, and turning them into something completely, extraordinary. Read more
Published on 13 April 2011 by Steve Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars The right amount of words
The first thing that struck me about Not So Perfect by Nik Perring was the length of the stories, they are indeed short, short stories. Read more
Published on 12 April 2011 by DecodingStatic
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
This is one of my favourite short story collections.

It's touching, quirky, and entertaining throughout. Read more
Published on 21 Feb 2011 by RPW
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the title!
This book is an example of something not doing what it says on the tin. The stories are perfect. For reasons that lots of other people have given. Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2010 by Unhappy buyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Little stories with lots of heart.
`Not so Perfect' is a collection of 22 short short fictions presented in a beautifully small square volume. Read more
Published on 5 Jun 2010 by danpowfiction
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