Published April 2006 by William Heinemann
and in America in Winter 2007 from Random House

The Perfect Man

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 uncle's mistress, Ruth Winters, a remote figure who writes romance novels in which beautiful women find the perfect man. 

The small American town where Ruth lives turns out to be as exotic to Rajiv as he is to its decidedly imperfect inhabitants.  Though ever an outsider, Rajiv is befriended by four children and as these children grow older, their relationships intensify, complicated not only by desire, but also by the personal failings - and secrets - of the adults around them.  One secret in particular that is kept by many:  the mystery surrounding the death, years before Rajiv’s arrival, of an autistic child.

The pressure of this silence, as it erupts finally into a night of madness and violence, costs one of Rajiv’s circle the chance for any real future, and Rajiv is forced to realize not only the joy that love can give, but what it can, at its darkest and most obsessive, exact.

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