A spellbinding novel that will resonate with readers of Mark Haddon, Louise Erdrich, and John Irving, Perfect tells the story of a young boy who is thrown into the murky, difficult realities of the adult world with far-reaching consequences.
Byron Hemmings wakes to a morning that looks like any other: his school uniform draped over his wooden desk chair, his sister arguing over the breakfast cereal, the click of his mother's heels as she crosses the kitchen. But when the three of them leave home, driving into a dense summer fog, the morning takes an unmistakable turn. In one terrible moment, something happens, something completely unexpected and at odds with life as Byron understands it. While his mother seems not to have noticed, eleven-year-old Byron understands that from now on nothing can be the same.
What happened and who is to blame? Over the days and weeks that follow, Byron's perfect world is shattered. Unable to trust his parents, he confides in his best friend, James, and together they concoct a plan...
As she did in her debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce has imagined bewitching characters who find their ordinary lives unexpectedly thrown into chaos, who learn that there are times when children must become parents to their parents, and who discover that in confronting the hard truths about their pasts, they will forge unexpected relationships that have profound and surprising impacts. Brimming with love, forgiveness, and redemption, Perfect will cement Rachel Joyce's reputation as one of fiction's brightest talents.
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"Starred Review. As in her brilliant debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Joyce stuns with her beautifully realized characters and the unexpected convergence of her two tales." - Library Journal
"[Rachel] Joyce, showing the same talent for adroit plot development seen in the bestselling The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, brings both narrative strands together in a shocking, redemptive denouement." - Publishers Weekly
"Joyce returns with an even less likely but more ambitious piece of fictional fancy...Many of those who loved the author's first novel should at least like her second." - Kirkus
"[Perfect's] unputdownable factor... lies in its exploration of so many multilayered emotions. There is the unbreakable bond between mother and son, the fear of not belonging... and how love can offer redemption." -Evening Standard (UK)
"Perfect is a poignant and powerful book, rich with empathy and charged with beautiful, atmospheric writing." - Tana French, author of In the Woods and Broken Harbor
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Rachel Joyce moved to writing after her twenty-year career in theatre and television, where she performed leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court, and Cheek by Jowl, winning a Time Out Best Actress award, the Sony Silver, and an Olivier.
Joyce has written over twenty original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and has created major adaptations for the Classic series and Womans Hour, as well as a TV drama adaptation for BBC2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for Best Radio Play.
She currently lives in Gloucestershire with her family and is at work on her second novel, Perfect.
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