A Perfect Universe

Ten Stories

A Perfect Universe

Scott O’Connor’s novels have been hailed as “astonishing” (Library Journal), and “so insistently stirring, you want to lean in close to catch every word” (The New York Times Book Review). Now, from the author of Untouchable and Half World comes A Perfect Universe, a piercingly emotional cycle of stories in the tradition of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad and Annie Proulx’s Close Range.

Welcome to the often-overlooked corners of sun-bleached Los Angeles, where a teenaged bicycle thief searches for a kidnapped boy, a young musician emerges as the lone survivor of a building collapse, and an aging actor faces the erasure of his past. There, far from the Hollywood spotlight, we also meet two sisters locked in a destructive cycle of memory and illness, coffee-shop regulars whose lives are torn apart by a stunning moment of violence, and the desperate, fraudulent writer whose fictions connect these unforgettable characters in subtle and surprising ways.

Sharply observed, exhilaratingly paced, and beautifully written, A Perfect Universe is a masterful exploration of growing up and growing old, loss and longing, identity and deception, and the search for redemption, humanity, and grace.
  • Gallery/Scout Press | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781507204054 | 
  • February 2018
List Price $24.99 (price may vary by retailer)
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Reading Group Guide

This readers group guide for A Perfect Universe includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Children too wise for their age, a mother who only wants to win on The Price Is Right, a musician who emerges as the sole survivor from a collapsed building, and more honest characters populate Scott O’Connor’s short story collection A Perfect Universe. The author of Half World and Untouchable, Scott O’Connor weaves a piercingly emotional, observant, and realized cycle of stories in the tradition of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad and Annie Proulx’s Close Range.

Set in the corners of suburban California, these stories blend tales of courage, disappointment, and hope, as characters search for meaning and redemption amidst parenthood, grief, coffee shop lines, and long days at the hospital. With themes of celebrity, failure, and young children taking care of their adult parents, A Perfect Universe invites you into characters whose lives are so familiar that they will begin to resemble your own streets, neighbors, and sometimes yourself.

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Untouchable

About the Author

Scott O'Connor

Scott O’Connor is the author of the novella Among Wolves, and the novels Untouchable and Half World. He has been awarded the B&N Discover Great New Writers Award, and his stories have been shortlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and cited as Distinguished in Best American Short Stories. He has written for Fox and Universal Television, as well as The New York Times Magazine and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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