In preparation for the Virago Book Club Live Event with Polly Samson next week, the Virago team wrote about their favourite Perfect Lives short story and what it meant to them, posting on our Virago Book Club forum.
Read below for a snapsnot of our responses:
Carleen Peters: “For me The Birthday Present typifies the qualities I like best in the collection as a whole, and the qualities I like most about Polly Samson’s writing. Deceptively simple, very corporeal and sexy, dryly funny, and at its heart a protagonist I’d quite like to bump into at a muggy beach front café in Brighton.”
Victoria Pepe chose Morganna because she “is a fabulous character, a hippy, 'jingling and jangling armfuls of bracelets', who falls into the grief of being left with as much drama as you would expect. Polly Samson writes the story with a tongue firmly in her cheek – all the classic overblown 'woman scorned' tropes are there, but brilliantly turned on their heads.”
Hollie Cruickshank: “In Leaving Hamburg Aurelia’s journey through the streets of Hamburg allows us such an insight into her memories, desires, hopes, dreams and regrets. Polly’s language is rich with imagery and you find yourself wrapped up within Aurelia’s thoughts. You feel a sense of nostalgia for the people no longer in her life and a sense of closure in time for a new beginning.”
Naomi Doerge: “My favourite is The Man Across the River. I think one of Polly's best attributes is her ability to have the reader feel/smell/touch/taste so clearly whatever her characters are feeling. I really liked the creepiness of it because it is something that everyone can relate to. Even better is that there are so many different veins to this story."
Stephen Dumughn: “In A Regular Cherub there are passages that almost make you gasp as well as laugh – Tilda describing her newborn baby as a 'christmas gammon, boiled and ready for studding' for example. The combination of the disillusionment Tilda feels about motherhood, contrasted with the raw emotion – almost sentimentality – of the ending, totally rings true for me. Like all the other stories it's clever without ever seeming contrived.”
Which is your favorite short story in Perfect Lives? Visit our forum and tell us!
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