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[The Perfect Man] takes place chiefly in Pisgah, MO., the small town where  Rajiv Travers, a half-Indian, half-English boy, comes of age in the 1950s.  This 'Our Town'-ish locale is an ideal showcase for Murr's impressive talents . . . Murr, a bracingly straightforward writer whose flourishes are rare and subtle, dexterously advances multiple story lines, overlapping them now and then with rich results .... Well-wrought characters and refreshingly clear prose.
The New York Times Book Review [full review]
The Perfect Man succeeds in re-creating an entire world with a full spectrum of human emotions in a small Missouri town . . . It is only such writing, based on a universality of emotions, that can transcend language and nation and be handed over to another generation.
The Times Literary Supplement
[full review]
This is the best novel I have read in many years, captivating for its beautifully crafted prose, its haunting dynamics, and the author's complex evocation of a place and time through organic storytelling.
Sunday Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer [full review]
Doing for 1950s small-town America what The Last Picture Show did in film, Naeem Murr has created a fully-fledged, self-contained world, with a vast array of characters, each quixotic and authentically flawed.
Lionel Shriver, Financial Times
[full review]
Named by The School Library Journal as One of the Best Adult Books for High School Students, 2007

America is in many ways a nation of outsiders. But Naeem Murr's powerful new novel, The Perfect Man, take this to new extremes .... this deeply moving novel is Raj's coming of age as a literal outcaste in this small and desolate American town....Readers of this beautiful and poignant account of an incredible American childhood will not soon forget it." 
San Francisco Chronicle [full review]

Murr elegantly explores smalltown insularity and secrecy in this Commonwealth Award– winning third novel . . . .  Murr takes a Faulknerian approach to his portrait of Pisgah, peopling it with minor characters whose eccentricities provide local color and shrouded gothic elements—one of which reverberates menacingly. Murr poignantly dramatizes love's capacity to effect change.
Publishers Weekly
(*** starred review ***) [full review]

Delineating a balanced chiaroscuro between the substantive themes of truth versus secrecy, loyalty versus betrayal, and, of course, good versus evil, Murr's vivid coming-of-age novel is a sumptuous tapestry teeming with hauntingly indelible characters.
Booklist [full review]

Naeem Murr vividly evokes the passionate world of childhood and adolesence as he tells the compelling story of Rajiv Travers, the ultimate outsider, and his unlikely group of supporters in a small town in Missouri. The Perfect Man is a beautiful and fiercely readable novel.
Margot Livesey, author of Banishing Verona

Naeem Murr's The Perfect Man is astonishing in its depth and insight. In prose that is both spare and excruciatingly vivid, Murr's warts-and-all portrayal of humanity haunts you long after you've turned the last page.
Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

The flavor and texture of Murr's latest novel is, quite simply, exquisite. He crafts characters with a complexity and intensity that they become more than "lifelike." They become immortal. These are the Huck Finns and the Tom Joads and the Scout Finches who never die. 
Fredericksburg Freelance Star [full review]

The Perfect Man is a beautiful story, hauntingly told . . . The book made it to the Man Booker long list last year. Proof enough that thankfully, Naeem Murr’s vivid and heart-wrenching The Perfect Man is infinitely better than the “ten-cent romances” that Ruth generates.
Mostlyfiction.com [full review]

Murr's impressive literary abilities are applied to a gargantuan gothic panoramic spotlit with emotional insight.
Kirkus Reviews
[full review]

An orphaned half-Indian, half British boy, Rajiv Travers, grows into the titular subject of this sprawling and delicately executed novel by Murr, who crafts a uniquely rich Southern Gothic about Rajiv’s arrival and adjustment into the small river town of Pisgah, Missouri ...  There are shades of Robert Penn Warren in his noble populism, balanced by the moral turpitude of Flannery O’Connor, as everyone in Pisgah seems faultlessly flawed.  His prose is by turns both wry and good-ol’-boy, muscular during melodrama, yet elegant in the fricasseed anecdotes that create tension among the townsfolk.
Chicago Time Out [full review]

Murr's verbal chiaroscuro of darkness and light, inky imagery and sun-dappled lyricism creates a vision of lost innocence ... that both haunts and bewitches.
Sunday Times
[full review]

Inevitably, but with an unexpected range of fall-out, Murr reveals a small-town legacy of brutality, passion and vulnerability that lingers in the mind like an obsession.
The Glasgow Herald [full review]

This nuanced, spellbinding novel is one of the most captivating I’ve ever read. From the lucid, breathtaking prose to the wicked humor, from the author’s deep and rare compassion to the ensemble cast of beautifully rendered, beautifully conflicted characters, the book explores not merely what it means to be young or innocent, not what it means to be an immigrant or American, but what it means to be human. Naeem Murr’s novel is a dark and gorgeous revelation.
Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi: Stories

Reviews list for The Perfect Man

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Site created 10th February 2006