Flora returns to the small college town of Darwin after the sudden death of her father, the college's former president and a renowned academic. Finding that she's her father's literary executor poses the problem of what to do with the poems he gave her before he died--poems she hasn't even read.
Perfect Reader is début literary fiction, and it's a promising beginning to Maggie Pouncey's career. It's a thoughtful, slow revealing of layers of the past, both Flora's childhood and her father's recent past, about aspects of which Flora realizes she knew nothing.
Flora needs to confront her past in order to move on with her present, which has been going nowhere. It's a familiar story arc in many ways, right down to the inevitable love affair which moves Flora onwards but doesn't really come to anything in itself. But it's well written and nicely structured, and will appeal to fans of books that don't rush from one incident to another but linger over a place, a time, a mood.
I enjoyed reading this novel and will look out for more from this author.