Perfect: Read it if……

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Evening all! Today’s “Read-it-if…” is hot off the press of my brain given that I only finished the book this afternoon. Today’s offering is Perfect by Rachel Joyce, the author of one of my personal favourites, and subject of a previous R-I-I review, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

I was eagerly awaiting this one as soon as I heard about it, such was my enjoyment of old Harold’s antics in Joyce’s previous work. Did I enjoy Perfect as much? No. No, I didn’t. Is it nevertheless as worthy of a look as Joyce’s first book? Yes. Yes it is.

Perfect is told from two perspectives and in two time periods and follows challenging periods in the lives of its two protagonists.  Byron, a young lad growing up in 1972, discovers the plans of the powers-that-be to add two seconds to time, and must deal with the slow disintegration of his comfortable world after this added time causes his mother to make a terrible mistake.  Jim, a middle-aged, loner tormented by mental illness, attempts to make a new life for himself on the outside after the psychiatric facility in which he has long resided, is closed and the residents discharged into the wide world.

The paths of the two seem disconnected, albeit with some parallels, until late in the book, when certain commonalities are revealed for a very satisfying ending.

perfect

Read it if:

* you’ve ever suspected that time will do funny things to you if you don’t keep a very close eye on it

* you’ve ever been forced to wear a ridiculous outfit in the course of your work

* you’ve ever felt totally responsible for something that wasn’t actually your fault

* you like an author who can render characters in difficult situations with great sensitivity and skill

 

As I mentioned, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as Harold Fry, but that may have been due to my high expectations.  I found Perfect a little bit slower than I would have preferred, but Joyce’s characteristic turn of phrase and clever plot progression kept me hanging in.  There is a nice twist toward the end of the book that I actually suspected from very early on, but this didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the story at all – in fact, if anything, I felt more committed to seeing out the journey with the characters due to the gentle reveal.

In short, this was a good solid read with so much happening that one could be forgiven for feeling like they’d just finished a much longer book. Go on, give it a bash!

Until next time,

Bruce

 

Read it if….: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

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Greetings fleshlings! This is a “read-it-if….” I’ve been wanting to post for a while, but has been shoved aside for more recent reads.  But no longer!  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce became an instant favourite and must-own tome as soon as I read it….although admittedly, I don’t actually own it yet.  I’m hoping a Christmas miracle might occur in a few day’s time and the secret wish of a silent, sentient gargoyle to own such a tome might be granted.

I must admit I am a sucker for a quaint, charming story set in the English (or Welsh, or Scottish) countryside so I was pre-disposed to like this one, but the tale of OAP Harold Fry (that’s Old Age Pensioner for those in the know) and his spontaneous quest to walk miles and miles to deliver a letter to a dying woman and rekindle a deep and significant friendship imprinted itself on my stony heart just a few pages in.  I am not ashamed to admit that, had I tear-ducts, I would have shed a drop of water or two at the events in this tale.

harold fry

Read it if:

* you are a sucker for quaint, charming tales of the English countryside

* you enjoy (and understand) dry British wit

* you have ever felt an inexplicable urge to spontaneously set out on a personal Quest-with-a-capital-Q, despite having done no planning, being woefully underprepared in the footwear department, and having neglected to inform your spouse or significant other where on earth you’ve got to

* you have ever felt an inexplicable urge to join in somebody else’s Quest-with-a-capital-Q, despite etc etc

* you need a bit of encouragement…or just some good, old-fashioned courage….to do what’s important

A month or so ago I came across this fantastic news story about Britain’s “Naked Rambler” .  It reminded me of Harold Fry and his adventures (although I can’t recall any specific mention of nude hiking in the book!) simply due to the persistence of old nudey no-pants to keep walking despite numerous prison sentences…

But I digress…..truly, I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Until next time,

Bruce