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Perfect - Rachel Joyce

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From the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry a very different but equally unlikely and heartrending hero, and a story of secrets, a terrible mistake, and the destructive nature of perfection.

In 1972, two seconds were added to time. It was in order to balance clock time with the movement of the earth. Byron Hemming knew this because James Lowe had told him and James was the cleverest boy at school. But how could time change? The steady movement of hands around a clock was as certain as their golden futures.

Then Byron's mother, late for the school run, makes a devastating mistake. Byron's Perfect world is shattered. Were those two extra seconds to blame? Can what follows ever be set right?

Read Caroline Baum's Review:

In 1972 two seconds were added to time to make up for the earth spinning slightly off kilter in a leap year. Eleven year old Byron Hemmings finds this very alarming. Perhaps it explains the sequence of events in which his otherwise perfect mother accidentally hits a little girl on a bicycle driving her Jaguar on the school run. Together with his older friend James, Byron attempts to make sense of the world around him but his child’s logic is at a loss when faced with the complexities of his mother’s social circle and his father’s absence. Then there’s Jim, a man in and out of mental institutions, who makes friends with Eileen, a woman who loses things. Written with tenderness, humor and a fine ear for dialogue, this is a book about loners, outsiders and people who think differently.

About the Author

Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which was shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize and for which Rachel Joyce was awarded the Specsaver National Book Awards New Writer of the Year 2013. She has written over twenty original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and major adaptations for the classic Serial and Woman's Hour, as well as a TV period drama for BBC 2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for Best Radio Play. She lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and four children.



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Interesting book characters well written


from Melbourne

About Me Bookworm

Verified Buyer


  • Easy To Read
  • Engaging characters
  • Page-Turner
  • Well Written


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    Comments about Perfect:

    good efficient service
    confident to purchase from again

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    "A near-flawless novel of emotional truth. Joyce executes this story with precision and flair... Its unputdownable factor lies in its exploration of so many multilayered emotions... It is her clever did-I-read-that-right twist at the end that really got to me and had me scrabbling back through the chapters, open-mouthed." Evening Standard "The power of Joyce's prose lies in small, astute observations... [her] subtle touches give the book an intense, slightly mesmeric feel. Tense and engrossing... readers who loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will not be disappointed." Sunday Times "Joyce's faith in the essential goodness of humanity and her observation of the comedy in the everyday shine through... This is a darker, more complex novel than Joyce's first but readers will find other points of comparison. Not least a twist that few will see coming and will leave you reeling; and a redemptive ending that is perhaps the sweeter given all the pain that goes before. An instant classic, Perfect confirms Rachel Joyce as a major new British literary voice." Daily Express "Diana herself is faultless. She is to Perfect what Harold Fry was to [The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry]: a fully rounded hero, someone to fall in love with and argue about, cherish and admonish, as though she were real... If only there were more novelists like Rachel Joyce" Telegraph "What's right with it? You'll fall in love with the characters. They're kind, anxious, flawed, funny and wonderful. Also, knowing that the two stories will have to meet builds a wonderful sense of tension. What's wrong with it? Nothing. It's brilliant. Even the fact that Byron is convinced that scientists tried to slip an extra two seconds into time is a wonderful hook for all the decisions he goes on to make. Verdict: Uplifting, engaging, sad and funny. A perfect follow-up to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry." Heat magazine's #1 book to be reading right now (July)

    ISBN: 9780857520678
    ISBN-10: 0857520679
    Audience: General
    Format: Paperback
    Language: English
    Number Of Pages: 368
    Published: 1st July 2013
    Country of Publication: GB
    Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.4  x 2.9
    Weight (kg): 0.49