A Perfectly Good Family: A Novel (P.S.) by Lionel Shriver

By Lionel Shriver

Following the dying of her priceless liberal mom and dad, Corlis McCrea strikes again into her family's grand Reconstruction mansion in North Carolina, willed to all 3 siblings. Her timid more youthful brother hasn't ever left domestic. while her bullying black-sheep older brother strikes into "his" condominium to boot, it really is battle. every one inheritor wishes the home. but to shop for the opposite out, siblings needs to group opposed to one. simply as in girlhood, Corlis is torn among allying with the first rate yet frightened youngest and the iconoclastic eldest, who covets his legacy to smash it. a wonderfully stable relations is a gorgeous exam of inheritance, literal and mental: what we take from our mom and dad, what we discard, and what we're caught with, love it or now not.

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I knew how he’d end up: a potbellied, pasty would-have-been blustering through tall tales to avoid paying his round, but foresight inspired me to make the most of his company before he declined to welcher and nuisance. Since Peter would vanish for days on end, on benders or fast-burn romances he’d never say, I spent a lot more time with Andrew. The younger man was light enough to share my scooter, on which the two of us would top-heavily weave to Stop ‘n’ Shop for provisions, to return flapping with plastic bags.

Where Averil is painstaking, Truman is brisk. They share an exactitude—Truman’s diced onions are all the same size square. Yet while Averil might take an hour trimming and snapping green beans one by one, my little brother lines them up ten at a time and dispatches two pounds in ten minutes. And where Averil is timid, Truman is judicious. The heat under Truman’s sautéing onions is medium. The amount of salt in his pasta water is some. The confidence with which Truman wielded a cleaver had always meant to me that, beneath his closeted, suspicious-of-strangers, whygo-out-let’s-stay-home day-to-day, teemed a brusque, masculine certainty that never got out of the house.

Though his grin was sly and he laughed knowingly from the side of his mouth, it didn’t take long to ferret out that Andrew had had meagre experience with women. Peter Larson was a broader man, still well my junior but older than Andrew by six years. He was a Glaswegian, and it took me weeks of deciphering his accent to understand that his ostensible ambitions were in journalism. Such a future was hard to picture, save the bit about boozing up sources at late-licence pubs. Peter was on the hapless side, as he cheerfully admitted.

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