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Leave Before You Go Hardcover – April 26, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Twentysomething angst over the opposite sex, career malaise and anxiety regarding overall life direction unite three young New Zealand natives and a mysterious English stranger in Perkins's dry-humored first novel (her collection of stories, Not Her Real Name, won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for Fiction in Great Britain). Eager to leave London, art school dropout Daniel agrees to help a friend of a friend by trafficking heroin from Thailand to New Zealand. His inexperience and stupidity soon conspire against him and he resorts to two dangerous strategies--lying and stealing--to scrape by. Professional drifter Kate hates her latest job as an usher at an Auckland movie theater. She doesn't much care either for her aging hippie mother, Ginny, or her glamorous young sister, Nina, whose constant ego-puffing compels her to scheme vindictively against Kate and others who prefer not to worship at her self-erected shrine. Kate manages to find some solace with best friend Lucy, a social worker who seems happy with live-in lover Josh until he takes in a starving, desperate Daniel and gives him whatever he needs--money, food, a friend's empty apartment. It seems only natural that lonely and in limbo Daniel and Kate should meet. Perkins's fresh and clever narrative is propelled by effects like the zinging, one-liner dialogue between Kate and Lucy, and the Jaws music (dum dum dum dum) that follows Nina everywhere she goes. Picturing the travails and triumphs of her sexy cast on variously beckoning backdrops of sea, sky and home, Perkins crafts a sophisticated and compelling tale.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Perkins' debut novel weaves in and out of the lives of a group of twentysomethings living in New Zealand. There's Daniel, who, after smuggling drugs out of Indonesia, is robbed of the $10,000 he made off the deal and left with nowhere to go. Lost, he wanders into the lives of Josh and Lucy when the former takes pity on him and offers him a job. Lucy, Josh's girlfriend, is none too pleased when Josh lets Daniel stay with them as well, but her friend Kate is curious about the stranger and vaguely attracted to him. At Josh's suggestion, Kate and Daniel take a road trip to see the country, and also to visit Kate's sister, Nina, a vixenish TV reporter who brings out all of Kate's insecurities. Perkins skillfully depicts a new lost generation: the characters move aimlessly from one thing to the next, unable to muster up much passion even when disaster strikes. A graceful and quietly powerful novel. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060196610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060196615
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,989,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dinoj Surendran on May 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Increasingly many young (and not so young) people live aimless lives. Perkins paints a realistic picture of half-a-dozen of them.
No, she doesn't paint it. She photographs it.
Here, Daniel is a Brit who takes a one-way trip to New Zealand as a one-time drug runner, and ends up destitute there. The Kiwi scene centers around Kate, a very-small-time cinema usherette who's single and looking. Unlike fairy tales, they don't pair up promptly. Instead they drift...
If you like to see your world in black and white, skip this. If you see it in shades of grey and want to get a glimpse of life at the unmotivated end of the human spectrum, it's very useful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "joli125" on July 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For the most part, I strongly agree with the previous review. I originally discovered Perkins when I came across "Not Her Real Name", a collection of brilliantly written short stories about a somewhat lost generation. I was thoroughly impressed and couldn't wait to read the follw-up. However, after reading "Leave Before You Go", I must say, I AM a little disappointed. While I found myself able to connect with the unwittingly emotionally bankrupt characters that she portrays, and yes, both cheering and jeering at their decision-making skills -- I felt like I was being dragged in circles. In the end, I also felt disconnected and unsatisfied -- like there was not resolution or character DEVELOPMENT at all. However, I haven't lost my faith in Perkins yet. Her uniquely tangible descriptions always leave me wanting more.
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Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book for what it was--a passage of time. I'll spare you the synopsis since 2 other reviewers have given you that already.
What I liked about this book was at times you can actually hear yourself groaning along with the characters bad decisions, and wanting to give them the high five when they make the good/best/or right decision. The ending left me feeling a bit disconnected, but I think that was the point.
It's a light easy read. No great mysteries of life solved here, you'll be disappointed if you're looking for that in this book.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Frank-Tommy Olsen on July 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Emily Perkins is supposedly one of the new and talented voices of todays New Zealand literature. By chance I read some of her articles in a magazine. It struck me that she seemed to be writing for young women, but still definitely had a talent. Just as much by chance I came into possession of her first novel, "Leave Before You Go", but here my curiosity turned into direct disappointment. The novel starts off with Daniel, a young Englishman, bored with his uneventful life in England, and so he decides to take the risk as a one-time drug courier. He ends up in New Zealand where he meets Kate and her friends who are equally dissatisfied with their lives. Again I get the impression that Emily Perkins is turning to other young women her age, who are in turn bored with their lives and maybe haven't anything better to do than reading this unfascinating and uneventful story. Nothing much happens, and the descriptions both of Auckland and a trip further south in the country are straight out dull. There are occasional moments better than others but all together the entertainment value hardly exists, neither in the storyline, the character portrayals or in the language itself. If I was an 18-year old girl, not having read any other books by my own free will, I might have given it three stars. I'm giving it two stars because of the moments where she does display her talent, but if Emily Perkins can't come up with anything better than this in more than 200 pages, she should probably concentrate her talent on the short stories and essays in women's magazines. Honestly!
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