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Reader As Understander,
This review is from: Perfect Reader: A Novel (Hardcover)
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This is a very well written and intelligent new novel. The basic plot concerns Flora, a not very happy woman in her late 20's, who leaves her job at a New York City magazine to come home to a small New England college town in order to settle the estate of her recently deceased father. Her father was a prominent academic specializing in the poets Larkin and Hardy and also the former president of a prestigious college which sounds a lot like Amherst (complete with the museum/home of a poet who shares several characteristics of Emily Dickinson) even though the author chooses to call town and college Darwin. Flora soon finds she has not just inherited her father's house and money but also some unpublished poems of which he wished her to be the literary executor. Although she at times wishes he had left this duty to someone else she also learns a lot about her childhood, her parents and her adult self along the way.
The novel is seamlessly written and seems so genuine I have to believe some of it is autobiographical. Author Pouncey presents characters that are well rounded, consistent and memorable. Her portrayal of the elite college town of Darwin and its rather self absorbed inhabitants is one of the best parts of the book. And though Flora can be an annoying character she is always an interesting one. Though a relatively short book it is not a quick read but one the reader wants to take time to savor. PERFECT READER will be a favorite of many thinking, literature loving, book lovers.