A Perfectly Good Family

  • by Lionel Shriver
  • Narrated by Susan Ericksen
  • 13 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Following the death of her worthy liberal parents, Corlis McCrea moves back into her family's grand Reconstruction mansion in North Carolina, willed to all three siblings. Her timid younger brother has never left home. When her bullying black-sheep older brother moves into "his" house as well, it's war.Each heir wants the house. Yet to buy the other out, two siblings must team against one. Just as in girlhood, Corlis is torn between allying with the decent but fearful youngest and the iconoclastic eldest, who covets his legacy to destroy it. A Perfectly Good Family is a stunning examination of inheritance, literal and psychological: what we take from our parents, what we discard, and what we are stuck with, like it or not.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Disappointing from such a good writer

I have read most of Lional Shriver's books and enjoyed them very much but this does not reach her usual standard. She does not have enough to say and it is padded with dull detail. The book is not helped by the narration of Susan Ericksen and her attempts to adopt an English accent, often mispronouncing words including her assumption that potato rhymes with the English pronounciation of tomato.
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- Jennifer

The first Lionel Shriver novel I have not loved

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I love Lionel Shriver. I love her sharp wit, her satirical approach to topical themes, her language and rich vocabulary, her sarcasm, her lack of fear and well, just about everything about her. I feared Kevin, felt smug about health and weight with Big Brother. I laughed at journos in The New Republic and felt a whole mixture of emotions at So Much For That. So this, my fifth Shriver, was a huge ask: a book about a sister and her two brothers fighting over their inheritance. The two brothers, one an alcoholic who left home at an early age, appears to attract disaster and has a string of ex-wives, and the other hard-working, caring, studious with a gentle perfect wife - were so appealing to me (I can't think why) that I suppose I was setting myself up for disappointment. The novel was quite simply boring. If had known these people in my real life, I'd have walked the other way when I spotted them at the mall.


How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I would have cut out about half of it.


How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator was one of the worst I have listened to. She sounded as if she were straining her voice. Perhaps the sentences were too long for her lung capacity, but it sounded as if she were running out of air quite often, which was an uncomfortable sensation for the listener. And finally, sorry - we British do not say potaaaato (rhyming with tomato) - ever. And persevere is not pronounced purr-sever.


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

There were some aspects of the book I liked. The characters were well drawn. I do like the anti-heros she writes so well.


Any additional comments?

I will try another Lionel Shriver.but I'll stick to the newer titles. Perhaps her earlier books are not as sharp as her later ones.

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- Lorraine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-03-2009
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio