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Perfect Architect [Paperback]

Jayne Joso
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 May 2011
A love letter to architecture, Perfect Architect is set in the dazzling and eccentric world of the star architect (starchitect) and is a passionate meditation on what it means to find the ideal dwelling. Following  the death of her architect husband and the discovery of intimate correspondence with another woman, Gaia Ore is set to learn some harsh but rewarding lessons on the nature of erotic and artistic obsession. 
A competition emerges to design her perfect home, and the private world of international architects is opened up. Flowing between Spain, Italy, the US and the UK, four world class architects take up the challenge, the ultimate leveller, and set out to design the ideal dwelling for the widow of one of their greatest adversaries. But will they truly understand what is required of them? Accustomed as they are to large scale projects such as skyscrapers, bridges, museums and galleries, will the request for a modest home ultimately get the better of them?
A joyous read filled with houses, architects - translucent concrete, and hand-carved penguins...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Alcemi (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956012523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956012524
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jayne Joso website:
Twitter: @JayneJoso

Having lived and worked in Japan and China, Jayne Joso now lives in the UK. As well as fiction and drama, she has written on architecture, Japanese arts and culture. Joso's first children's book 'How do you Feel?' was published by Benesse in Japan; and her first play 'China's Smile', commissioned in celebration of China's Children's Day, enjoyed a long theatre run at the Ye Fu Theatre, Zhejiang, and was later televised.

Her first novel: 'Soothing Music for Stray Cats' (2009) was shortlisted for the People's Book Prize.

Having written for various architecture publications, Joso draws on her fascination for architecture and the idea of the ideal dwelling place in her second novel 'Perfect Architect' (2011).

'Soothing Music for Stray Cats' (2009) shortlisted for the People's Book Prize 2010.

Praise for 'Soothing Music for Stray Cats':

Ian Thomson, The Times Literary Supplement:
'Jayne Joso, who has lived and worked in Japan, is well placed to note the vagaries of mixed-up, mixed-race Britain. SOOTHING MUSIC FOR STRAY CATS, named after an album of retro doo-wop and swing by the Liverpool singer-songwriter Edgar "Jones" Jones, may emerge as one of the great, eccentric London novels.'

Emma Rae, Planet, Issue 195:
'SOOTHING MUSIC FOR STRAY CATS is a richly comic debut novel of youthful dreams and adult despair... reminiscent of Holden Caulfield's voice in J.D.Salinger's Catcher in the Rye... a generous and engaging novel which embraces the extremes of human experience so thoughtfully and yet so lightly.'

Joe Moran, Author & Guardian Contributor:
'Jayne Joso's novel skilfully melds the esoteric and the everyday, the surreal and the banal, to create a strangely gripping narrative full of dark humour. Soothing Music for Stray Cats marks the debut of a distinctive voice in contemporary British fiction.'

Natalie Haynes, BBC2 The Review Show panellist & author:
'An unexpected and moving story about the redemption of misfits and the consolation of strangers.'

Product Description


‘Joso maintains a fine balance between the intellectual and the emotional in this promising, character-rich work.’ Publishers Weekly, New York

‘A humorous and entertaining journey through the world of architecture.’ The Midwest Book Review, USA

‘A work of stunning originality and deftness of prose, in which Jayne Joso explores with delicate skill and rare empathy what becomes of the broken hearted.’ Cathi Unsworth

‘Joso uses all the devices of modern fiction... -The name of Coover [one of the architects]- recalling the American postmodern writer Robert Coover, who specialises in elaborate parodies and disrupting myths - is perhaps revealing.’ ICON Magazine (issue 099) Agata Pyzik

Full of originality...  Joso applies an otherworldly curiosity to a basic but universal question: what is it to live somewhere? The Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Having lived and worked in Japan and China, Jayne Joso now lives in London. Her debut  novel,  Soothing Music for Stray Cats, was heralded by the Times Literary Supplement as one of the ‘great London novels’ and is now cited in Green’s Dictionary of Slang. Having written for various architecture publications including Architecture Today magazine and German publisher, Prestel Art, she now draws on her passion for the discipline and her encounters with the world of the star architect for her second genre-mashing novel, Perfect Architect

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 Comic and Kind 27 May 2011
I recently read Jayne Joso's joyous novel about the architecture of the human heart. A beguiling and layered story that weaves together hearts and houses in order to turn what begins as a set of suspicions and setbacks into the affirmation of knowledge and love. Four architects are given a chance to design a new house for Gaia, the grieving widow of Charles, an internationally known architect himself. Coincidences and misunderstandings are resolved in unusual and moving ways, and in the end, I was moved to weep and laugh at the same time. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in contemporary architecture and to anyone who needs reminding that the human comedy sometimes is really funny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect start, unsure about the ending 30 July 2011
By tom
I bought this after seeing Jayne Joso at a reading in London. The first 40 pages sucked me in so hard that I missed entering a bus I was waiting for. After that it gets a bit weird: It's mostly characterisation of various people, no real story, characters replying to observations form the narrator. To summarise: It is a very enjoyable book, the first 40 pages are brilliant, after that it's still good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand Designs and a damn fine read 4 Jun 2011
This book is a rare gem. It's like a fabulously constructed opera, shifting between the intimate letters between two women and the incredible and eccentric lives of the architects themselves; it's filled with humour, and there's plenty to love - whether that's the characters, their lives and influences, the houses they go on to design, or the careful structure of this clever book. It's also hilarious in parts, I mean 'laugh out loud'. If you've ever sat down and wondered what your ideal home would be, I would say, this is for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joso shapes up 31 May 2011
A genre-mashing novel which folds the archetypal setting for the form - a dwelling from which the protagonist departs on an adventure - back on to itself, by making the setting the professional milieu of the architect, which generates not only dwellings but the built environment in which the protagonist must err. The two meanings of errancy (wandering and misadventure) are combined here in a deft, comic and arch (in a good way) interpenetration of the worlds of the novel and of architecture. Writing from a highly informed perspective, Jayne Joso (who has written non-fiction on architecture) weaves together fragments of autobiographical mischief, domestic farce and the epistolary mode in a quest novel which follows the journey of the heart and the hearth, displacing each into the `units' which the architect allotted, the author's hand rendered at once a pencil and a cursor hovering over the meticulously plotted structure. A triumph of sophisticated reflection on the form of the novel as well as a compelling narrative in its own right, Joso's second novel stakes her claim as a novelist to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Architect 30 May 2011
By xxxx
It's so nice to read the letters in this book that form part of the plot, it made me want to stop emailing and go and pick up a pen! But that aside, this book is wonderful. It's so not what I expected, partly because it's hugely funny. It's really well put together, so that you get this clever exchange of letters between major characters and then the stories of the individual characters, mainly the architects themselves, and this has opened up a whole new world for me. It's all so exciting to hear how the architects get their ideas and how they think things through - thoroughly engaging. I am now left fantasising about some gorgeous abode I may one day live in! -It also contains a rather magical love story - the kind that restores your faith in people and actually in the idea of genuine love.
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