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A Perfectly Good Family by [Shriver, Lionel]
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A Perfectly Good Family Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Length: 417 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Praise for Lionel Shriver:

‘One of the most magnetically compelling writers working today. Witty, caustic and worldly’ WALL STREET JOURNAL

‘A brilliant writer. She has a strong, clear and strangely seductive voice. The characters are strong . . . so moving it will make you want to gasp or cry’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘Shriver is an incisive social satirist with a clear grip on the ironies of our contemporary age’
LA Times

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: 1323 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • 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: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,254 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
I have read most of Lionel Shriver's books and enjoyed them. This was a very disappointing read. It was slowly paced with not much to it. If you had to read the first and last chapter you would know exactly what had happened in the whole book.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I suggested A Perfectly Good Family to my reading circle, it was because I had admired the writing of Lionel Shriver in We Need to Talk about Kevin. Looking through her titles, I thought inheritance would be a safer option than that notorious book, and, because despite being riveted by We need to talk …’, I doubt if I could read it a second time.

The book tells the story of two brothers - macho slob, Mordecai and wimpish perfectionist, Truman - and a sister, Corlis, or Corrie Lou, who together with a worthy charity, inherit their parents’ home. Each of the brothers wants to own the house and buy out the other one, but they can only do this with the help of their sister.

A Perfectly Good Family was written before We need to talk …,’ and, at first sight, the prose did not seem to me so sparkling; in fact occasionally the sentences seemed a bit rambling and incomprehensible. Also, there were too many Americanisms for me. These were observations I made at about the half way point, but my main problem was not the above, but the fact that the story had not moved very far at that stage, even though we had learned quite a lot about the main protagonists.

In an article, Lionel Shriver describes the similarities to her own family, for example, the action takes place in North Carolina, where she was raised, and like the protagonists, she is the only girl sandwiched between two brothers. Her parents, though alive, have similarities to the fictional dead parents in their liberal politics and other attributes.

So although this is a piece of fiction, the relationships are based on truth and as result of that, I think there is a problem with having a great deal of information on the subject matter.
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