In an English seaside town, lovers and children, young men and middle-aged women weave in and out of each other's lives and stories.
A mother is tormented by her daughter's tattoo; another only pretends to love her baby. A wife stalks her husband and his new lover; a broken egg through a letterbox tells a story that will not go away; the cat thinks he knows best. Threaded throughout are longings for love and poignant disappointments, surprising pleasures and temptations. Some will fall but some, like the small boy at the circus who sees his babysitter fly past on a trapeze wearing little more than a blue bra and spangles, will retain their feeling of awe.
PERFECT LIVES, follows Polly Samson's rapturously received first collection, LYING IN BED. They are rueful, knowing, witty, poignant, bashful, bold. Her genius is in the nuance.
The perfect lives of Samson's characters living in an English seaside town tarnish under closer scrutiny. In her finely-wrought collection of 11 closely-linked stories, Samson (Lying in Bed) plumbs the depths of the human psyche, revealing insecurities, infidelities, and an enduring tenacious spirit. A thoughtless comment at a 40th birthday party and a broken egg in the letterbox on Father's Day shatter a seemingly idyllic marriage. Seeing a girl he likes with a classmate prior to his major recital so demoralized a gifted young pianist that he has turned his significant talents to piano tuning. When years later, the lives of these people briefly intersect, one wonders who has earned the richest life. Samson also examines a little boy's first bittersweet whispers of love for the baby sitter he believes to be a trapeze artist, and a woman's all-consuming love affair with her camera; it causes her to forget her husband's birthday, but also saves the day. Samson's deft touch balances pathos, love, and humor, providing an absorbing look into very real contemporary lives.