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Perfect Lives Hardcover – February 21, 2011

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Frequently Bought Together

Perfect Lives + Out of the Picture + Lying in Bed
Price for all three: $48.19

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  • Out of the Picture $13.17
  • Lying in Bed $12.56

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Virago UK (February 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860499929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860499920
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,757,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Fiction Choice of the Year. "[O]riginal and compelling. . . . She makes everyday tragedy her subject matter, but forever errs on the side of optimism."
--The Sunday Times

"A life-enhancing treat of a book...stories strung together cleverly into a novel." - Esther Freud, Books of the Year. --The Daily Telegraph

"This is a masterly book. . . .Polly Samson loves these people, describing them with incisive wit and generous compassion." --The Financial Times

"Perfect Lives confirms Samson's reputation as a significant chronicler of contemporary life."  --The Observer

"With her effortless prose and unflinching eye,  Samson dips beneath the surface of apparently contented, even blessed lives, and the result is compelling, disturbing and moving." --Maggie O'Farrell

"Dreamy evocative prose."  —Entertainment Weekly 
"Her finely-wrought collection of eleven closely-linked stories . . . plumbs the depths of the human psyche, revealing insecurities, infidelities, and an enduring tenacious spirit, Samson's deft touch balances pathos, love, and humor, providing an absorbing look into very real contemporary lives."  —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Polly Samson is the author of the highly-acclaimed short story collection Lying in Bed and the novel Out of the Picture. She has written lyrics for two number one albums - Pink Floyd's The Division Bell, and On An Island by her husband David Gilmour.

More About the Author

I am the author of two collections of short stories Perfect Lives and Lying in Bed and a novel Out of the Picture. I was born in London in 1962 but by the age of eight it was clear I'd be a happier child if we lived in the countryside. Luckily my parents agreed and we moved to the middle of nowhere. Since then I have worked in publishing and as a journalist and I have written lyrics (for Pink Floyd's The Division Bell and David Gilmour's On An Island). Apart from obvious things like meeting my husband and the births of my children the highlights of my life so far have been winning a Blue Peter badge, playing the piano on the Jools Holland TV show and hearing my stories being read on the BBC. I am currently working on an introduction to a book of Daphne du Maurier's stories and a new novel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By irish431962 on June 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Aside from a mention on a few Pink Floyd & David Gilmour lyrics, I wasn't familiar with Polly Samson; then I received a recommendation for PERFECT LIVES from one book club or another & thought "what the heck, I'll give it a go." I'm glad I did! A very wonderful writing style had me mesmerised by an array of characters who's lives cross paths in a town in England. Each character has a way of getting into your thoughts(and under your skin) & I would find myself thinking about MY neighbors while I was reading about Polly's people! I don't want to give anything away, but I particularly love "Ivan Knows"; a story which took me back to my boyhood secret crushes; and "Remote Control", where I had to wonder how much of that story was inspired by personal circumstance. PERFECT LIVES is a perfect read as far as I'm concerned; it raises a mix of emotions depending on which story your reading at the time, and for me; it had me searching my brain just enough to remember certain events throughout my life to identify with; it was nice to remember!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. J. Jordan on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read it all in one sitting the first time and really loved it.
Am loving it more as I re-read and relish these brilliant, interwoven stories.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am afraid I was as disappointed in this book as the other of hers that I read, & for the same reasons.. Books & the enjoyment of one is very personal, so I'm sure there are others who don't share my opinion. I'm disappointed to say I can't recommend this as an enjoyable book. I was hoping for much more.
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