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The Perfect Man by Naeem Murr

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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2006.


The Perfect Man by Naeem Murr

The Perfect Man explores the power—both destructive and liberating—of what is not told, of the secrets that can shape us more profoundly than everything we believe to be true.

Rajiv Travers, the child of an Indian mother and English father, is abandoned first to relatives in London and later to the care of his uncleâs mistress, Ruth Winters, who lives in a small American town. Beginning with Ruth, a remote figure who writes romance novels filled with perfect men, this town turns out to be as exotic and strange to Rajiv as he is to its inhabitants. But Rajiv, though always an outsider, finds love when he is befriended by four of the townâs children. As the children grow older, their friendship becomes increasingly intense, and is complicated not only by desire and shifting loyalties, but also by the personal failings—and secrets—of the adults around them.

One secret in particular is masked by silence: the mystery surrounding the death, years before Rajivâs arrival, of an autistic child. When the silence breaks, the violence, anger, and madness that erupts costs one of Rajivâs friends the chance for any real future.

As Rajiv tries to establish his place in a town besieged by what cannot be spoken, some of the people he encounters fail utterly in their humanity, bringing about horrific consequences. Others, like Ruth—and Rajiv himself—though hardly perfect, at least struggle to understand and accept not only what love gives, but what it exacts.


'Clever and intense, Murr's writing captures the extraordinary power of human ties' - Time Out

'Naeem Murr has a hideously beautiful imagination and a wholly original talent' - Mary Gaitskill

[Murr's] prose bursts into flower, taking us straight to the passionate heart of his characters. Words and phrases take on an almost translucent elasticity, stretching to encompass new ideas, giving scenes a compelling visual wholeness and suggesting real complexity' - Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Naeem Murr was born and raised in London and has lived in the USA since 1987. He has published a number of prize winning stories and novellas. His critically acclaimed first novel, The Boy, was published in 1998 and has been translated into six languages.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th April 2006


Naeem Murr

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Arrow Books Ltd




Literary Fiction
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