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Perfect Reader

A Novel

Maggie Pouncey

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Description

In this enchanting debut novel, Maggie Pouncey brings to life the unforgettable Flora Dempsey, the headstrong and quick-witted only child of Lewis Dempsey, a beloved former college president and famous literary critic in the league of Harold Bloom.

At the news of her father’s death, Flora quits her big-city magazine job and returns to Darwin, the quaint New England town where she grew up, to retreat into the house he has left her, filled as it is with reminders of him. Even weightier is her appointment as her father’s literary executor. It seems he was secretly writing poems at the end of his life—love poems to a girlfriend Flora didn’t know he had. Flora soon discovers that this woman has her own claims on Lewis’s poetry and his memory, and in the righteousness of her loss and bafflement at her father’s secrets—his life so richly separate from her own in ways she never guessed—Flora is highly suspicious of her. Meanwhile, Flora is besieged by well-wishers and literary bloggers alike as she tries to figure out how to navigate it all: the fate of the poems, the girlfriend who wants a place in her life, her memories of her parents’ divorce, and her own uncertain future.

At once comic and profound, Perfect Reader is a heady, uplifting story of loneliness and of the spur to growth that grief can be. Brimming with energy and with the elbow-patchy wisdom of her still-vivid father, Flora’s story will set her free to be the “perfect reader” not just of her father’s life but of her own as well.

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Apr 26, 2010 – This imaginative debut takes a profound look at the connection between words on the page and the infinite interpretations for a reader. For heroine Flora Dempsey, the father-daughter bond is a further complication. Flora moves back to her picturesque New England hometown after the death of her father, former president of the town’s local college, where she discovers that her inheritance includes the role of literary executor. Lewis Dempsey, an academic writer, has left behind a manuscript of erotic poems written to Cynthia, his lover, whose existence is a surprise to Flora. Cynthia, meanwhile, attempts to become part of Flora’s life, wanting friendship—and publication of the poems. Overwhelmed, Flora navigates her father’s poetry, retreats into her memories of childhood and her parents’ divorce, and poignantly contemplates the acts of reading and writing. Pouncey has skillfully created a portrait of smalltown academia, where the relationships between reader and text are just as elusive and complex as the relationships between father and daughter, husband and wife, or between two lovers.
Perfect Reader
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jun 15, 2010
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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