FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Perfect Lives has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in very good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Perfect Lives Paperback – 5 May 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£8.99
£3.20 £0.01
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£8.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

  • Perfect Lives
  • +
  • Lying In Bed
  • +
  • Out Of The Picture
Total price: £26.96
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (5 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860499937
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860499937
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 216,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`Accomplished . . . Focusing, sometimes comically, sometimes compassionately, on apparently prospering, well-organised and contented people, Samson traces tremors of disruption threatening the stability of her characters' relationships and themselves' --Peter Kemp, Sunday Times, Books of the Year

'A collection of short stories that makes you invent excuses to retire to a private place for a quick injection of reading' --Bella Freud, Evening Standard, Books of the Year

`Perfect Lives links together various characters in the same town in a narrative daisy chain that allows the reader to know Samson's characters better perhaps than they know themselves. A breezy, artless writer, Samson is mercilessly accurate at lampooning middle class self-deception' --Metro, Books of the Year

'Terrific. Funny, beautifully observed and often poignant, they're the best thing Samson has produced yet . . . This is a writer who misses nothing' --Cressida Connolly, Spectator, Books of the Year

'Subtle and complex . . . Perfect Lives is an echo chamber of cause and effect, and art and life, and life and loss' --Carole Cadwalladr, Observer

Book Description

* The stunningly well received short story collection from the ever-brilliant Polly Samson, out now in paperback

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Related Media

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This collection of short stories burrows beneath the surface of other people's lives. The first story 'The Egg' introduces us to Celia Idlewild, who seems to have everything; perfect life; perfect house; perfect children as well as the most exquisite grand piano.(Pianos feature a lot in this collection.) Only, the more we read, the more we see that happiness and perfection is only a thin veneer coating the reality of her life. (Even the splendid piano has a dark secret.) Subsequent stories introduce us to people whose lives touch those of the Idlewilds.There's Richard, now a piano tuner, whose crippling stage-fright destroyed a promising career as a concert pianist and the woman he meets whose love of her wreck of an old piano, alters his perspective on perfection. We also meet people he has known in the past and see life through their eyes. In other stories the author peels away the layers of a humdrum marriage but also reveals its close intimacy.She is particularly adept as showing us how children think and feel of the way adults behave. In every story, the more that is stripped away, the more detail is added to these people's live, so much so that I immediately had to go back to the beginning and reread each story.

Polly Samson's prose has a deceptively light touch, which to me is the mark of a great writer. She tells you all you need to know without labouring the point. If you like your fiction spare; fiction that requires readers to make the connections for themselves, then 'Perfect Lives' is for you. Sometimes bleak, but ultimately uplifting, these stories remind us of the eternal resilience of the human spirit.
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Polly Samson's Perfect Lives is a collection of loosely interlinked short stories. I like the idea of interlinked short stories and several authors have tried it but few have managed it successfully. This book is no exception and the quality of the stories is uneven. I thought the first story - `The Egg' - was very good. The perfect life of Celia Idlewild is well portrayed in all its slightly sinister perfection with the advent of the egg itself showing the underlying cracks. Unfortunately the rest of the stories are not of the same standard.

The writing is good but too self consciously literary for my taste with simile piled upon metaphor where simple straightforward words would have been more telling and more effective. One sentence which struck me as being particularly clumsy was this one from the story called `At Arka Pana': `Her grandmother's breathing was shale at the shore, her tongue a dehydrated cockle.' I did think this particular story was interesting with teenager Claudine meeting her father and grandmother for the first time in a trip to Poland.

Much of the subject matter is slight and some of the stories have inconclusive endings which veer towards the obscure. The reader is left wondering what exactly was going on between the characters. Was Laura in `Ivan Knows' really part of the circus or was it just the child Ivan's imagination? What exactly was the message that Rose needed to convey to her daughter Anna in `The Rose Before the Vine'? The last story in the book features a television remote control and a talking cat. Oddly enough I thought this to be one of the more successful stories provided the reader can suspend disbelief and accept the talking cat. Many households are dominated by the remote control and this is a slightly humorous look at the issue.
Read more ›
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Strangely unsatisfying, a bit fluffy and fussy and middle class. I prefer my short stories with some meat, some flavour and body to chew on and remember. Some of the stories are plotless and pointless. Can you even call them stories? There are some lovely descriptions and characters are believable and sparely drawn. Dialogue is strained and artificial. She uses unusual metaphors and similes some of which work and when they do they are brilliant but others sound silly or clunky and draw attention to themselves instead of to the story. A little bit of a hotch potch of creative writing class type of vignettes that fail to make a mature whole.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Polly Samson has skilfully created a small world, a community in miniature; that glitters prism like with situations thoughtfully viewed from many angles. Her magical, sparkling prose is entrancing, so please don't gobble this box of delights all at one sitting, enjoy one at a time, maybe before sleep; then put the book aside and think it all through before returning to this top drawer work.

You will be rewarded by worlds within worlds, sharply observant writing and a background of classical music that may tempt you to search out the pieces and play them for yourself. Meistersinger Prelude,Overtures & Preludes / Die Meistersinger Chopin's [ASIN:B0037TTQ4M Chopin: Late Masterpieces (Barcarolle/ Mazurkas/ Nocturnes/ Sonata No.3)]]Barcarolle in F sharp I think is what was implied but please correct me, both roll along behind the stories, adding depth and quality.

`Leaving Hamburg' is exquisite, perfect and haunting. Because of the connections you might find yourself going back to a previous story to enjoy it with deeper understanding. `The Man Across the River' is a truly terrible tale of the commonplace worthy of Roald Dahl. It has the unusual angle of looking at the Greenham Common protests from a child's eye view.

Short stories with musical references are also available from Kazou Isiguro in his Nocturnes selection,Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfalla similar kind of writing and equally satisfying.
Read more ›
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback