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A Perfectly Good Family [Kindle Edition]

Lionel Shriver
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Following the success of ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ and ‘The Post-Birthday World’, ‘A Perfectly Good Family’ is coming back into print after being unavailable for years.

After having escaped for years to London, Corlis McCrea returns to the grand Reconstruction mansion where she grew up in North Carolina, now willed to the three grown children following the death of their parents. All three want the house.

Fiscal necessity dictates that two must buy a third out. Just as she was torn as a girl, the sister must choose between her decent younger brother and the renegade eldest—the black sheep who covets his legacy in order to destroy it. The adult siblings re-enact the deep enmities and loyalties of childhood, as each bids for a bigger slice of the pie.


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Product Description

Review

Praise for The Post-Birthday World:

‘Those of us who rave about the dash and dare of Lionel Shriver’s fiction can rejoice that The Post-Birthday World, a ‘Sliding Doors’-style joint tale of alternative loves and lives, will garner the attention she always deserves’
Independent

‘Shriver gives us another passionate novel…Like Sliding Doors, the tale splits into two, following the dramatic turns of each choice. Brilliant’
Cosmopolitan

‘It's another domestic drama with a compelling twist…the power struggle between the sexes is spot-on. Shriver chalks her narrative cue with relish and, once the story gets underway, it's hard to take your eyes off the green baize’
Tatler

‘’The Post-Birthday World’ is Lionel Shriver’s forthcoming work about the dilemmas of love – a must if you were gripped by ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’’
Harper’s Bazaar

Review

Praise for The Post-Birthday World: 'Those of us who rave about the dash and dare of Lionel Shriver's fiction can rejoice that The Post-Birthday World, a 'Sliding Doors'-style joint tale of alternative loves and lives, will garner the attention she always deserves' Independent 'Shriver gives us another passionate novel!Like Sliding Doors, the tale splits into two, following the dramatic turns of each choice. Brilliant' Cosmopolitan 'It's another domestic drama with a compelling twist!the power struggle between the sexes is spot-on. Shriver chalks her narrative cue with relish and, once the story gets underway, it's hard to take your eyes off the green baize' Tatler "The Post-Birthday World' is Lionel Shriver's forthcoming work about the dilemmas of love -- a must if you were gripped by 'We Need To Talk About Kevin" Harper's Bazaar

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1324 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007578024
  • Publisher: Harper (2 Mar. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002UZ5JEK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,014 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Lionel Shriver's novels include The Post-Birthday World, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and A Perfectly Good Family. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a perfectly good book; well worth keeping! 13 Jun. 2010
By Katharine Kirby TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading "A Perfectly Good Family" by Lionel Shriver with a ghastly fascination I felt as if I were watching something so private, so complicated and so human that I was embarrassed to be a voyeur into the McCrea family lives.

Getting to know each of the three adult children who have to sort out their responses to an unexpectedly challenging situation following their parents' deaths was creepily interesting and ultimately rewarding. When you get a handle on the character of the narrator Corlis you realise that anything could happen.

Lionel Shriver gives us glimpses of Corlis when she lived in London where her ménage a trois foreshadows the Janus like way in which she behaves towards her older and younger brothers.

With these two very different men; Trueman and Mordecai, together with the `Fourth Child" which is their parent's named charity bequest; the Heck-Andrews house, that has intriguingly also a beguiling character of it's own; needs fresh ownership arrangements.

Sorting through their parents effects sparks off varied reminiscences to the point the reader gets to know all too well what kind of family the McCreas were in their prime. I loved the scene when the freezer is cleared out. It rang so very true. Unravelling the allegiances, fantasies and personal visions of the way things were is hauntingly sad and therapeutic.

I enjoyed this book immensely for the family story it contains but feel that were I from the USA I would get even more from it as the references are densely everyday cultural ones for Americans, more alien to a UK readership.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as some of her other books 29 Nov. 2010
By Bluebell TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Having been enthralled by We Need To Talk About Kevin (Serpent's Tail Classics) and So Much for That I was perhaps expecting too much from this book. As is her hall-mark Lionel Shriver again deals with difficult issues, in this case, of the squabbles that can split a family over inheritance and the interpersonal difficulties among siblings. The title, I think, was meant to be ironic and it certainly turned out to be that way with the resentments against their dead parents being aired and the two brothers and their sister chaffing against one another as the story unfolds as to what will happen to the rambling property left to the three of them plus, to their surprise, also to a Civil Rights Charity supported by their father. There are some good black-humour scenes, such as the painfully awful Christmas, but I feel that the book is too long for what it has to say. About half-way through I started skipping pages and even chapters and I don't think I lost much of the story as there's not much story but a lot of descriptive stuff about family dynamics.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 14 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a massive fan of 'Kevin' I was really disappointed by this self indulgent novel. It tried too hard, the characters didn't feel authentic. This was my choice for our book club and I felt I had to apologise for it. Not one member really enjoyed it. However I have to say that it inspired the most debate of any of our choices to date, not so much about the novel, but about the issues of inheritance that it it raises.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
A Perfectly Good FamilyThere was something bland about the blurb for this book. Don't be fooled. On almost every page, something in the story resonated with me and my own family. I'm convinced all readers will have something in common with one of the three children in the story.

The daughter doesn't believe she's earned a penny of the money her parents' grand house is worth; the youngest brother believes the house is his because he still lives in it, has maintained it and put up with mother; the oldest child (the black sheep) has done little for the family but wants his share. Immediately.

The way the story snakes about dealing with the residual feelings each child has for the parents once they've died makes a fascinating study. Do we kid ourselves we're close to our parents/siblings? Are we?

I was glad by then end fearing the house which came to symbolise everything between parent and child (a monstrosity, a gift, the parents' hard work, a complicated task for the children) would overpower them.

Lionel Shriver has a brutal understanding of people and isn't afraid of tackling our ugliest moments head on.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Families are funny things 14 Nov. 2009
By NB
Format:Paperback
Families are funny things. WE can moan about them all we like to our mates, but stand up for them with grit if anyone else pipes up. So I can't fathom why someone would want to publicly explore a family which is very close to their real-life set -up.I couldn't deal with the indignation, or the letters or the silence which the author recieved when her family read this.

Although totally engaging, the characters in this are flawed and unsympathetic, which is how real people are innit? Corlis infuriated me, with her lack of decisiveness, as did Trueman - a grown up who was whinier than a teething baby. Eldest brother Mordecai was spot on for the time - all long plaits, meat and grunge - and reminded me of many men I've met who desperately try to be provocative in order to hide the softness underneath.

The idea that adults feel like they are entitled to their parents belongings no matter what fascinates me. If someone leaves you something fair enough, but to ffeel liek you;re owed just because you exist is madness. So the central story grabbed me from the outset, although I really wanted at least one the chracaters to realise they were not entitled.

I loved the way she spun this - from an interesting premise, past arguments and grudges right up to the unexpected ending - and whilst this may not be the most flattering portrait of families , it was honest and unflinching, funny and embarrassing, just the like the best families.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Slow not one of his best
Published 1 month ago by avid reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great!
Published 2 months ago by Tony
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, but top-heavy with character interpersonal psychology
Hmm. Disappointed in this novel by Shriver. She writes very well, but in this case I found her depictions of the characters and the psychology of their interrelations too detailed,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mike Landay
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Entertaiining and an insight into the workings of a functioning dysfunctional family...not traumatic!
Published 3 months ago by Lynn Batten
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great book. For those of you wishing to read ...
Another great book. For those of you wishing to read another 'We need to talk about Kevin", this is not it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Paula Kemp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book which I found really readable. Good story.
Published 4 months ago by Tam
3.0 out of 5 stars A PERFECTLY GOOD LIONEL SHRIVER
Brilliantly and entertainingly written in the phrasing, figurative language, rhythm and construction of sentences and paragraphs; but no delight for me in reading about three... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Chas. Dickens
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Great item
Published 7 months ago by Jane Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your average Chick Lit read...
Yes, it is a somewhat slower read than some others, but while it's not a thriller, nor a romance novel, nor particularly humorous, I loved how each chapter held something new. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Samsmom
5.0 out of 5 stars Not one to miss
Clever and insightful like her other novels. Enjoyed it a lot, particarly accounts of Corries parents and their marriage - thought provoking
Published 10 months ago by STEVE KENNY
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