A Perfect Universe (Hardcover)

Ten Stories

By Scott O'Connor

Gallery/Scout Press, 9781507204054, 256pp.

Publication Date: February 13, 2018

List Price: 24.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

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.


About the Author

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.


Praise For A Perfect Universe: Ten Stories

“Each fast-moving story presents a vivid sense of a California beyond the bright lights of Hollywood… Fans of Jennifer Egan will enjoy O’Connor’s depiction of angst and ennui in capitalist California.”

"The reader is immediately drawn in… as O'Connor shows, our vices are what make us so delicately and chaotically human. A catalog of imperfections neatly packaged within a book."

A Perfect Universe beautifully encapsulates our contemporary world, in the miniature globe of Los Angeles. We see ourselves in these hustlers and hopefuls, strays and survivors, characters as complex, damaged, and determined as the city itself. This is a new classic—not only of the mysterious, evergreen pull of the City of Angels, but of American fiction at large.” 
— James Frey, New York Times bestselling author of A Million Little Pieces and Bright Shiny Morning

“I sat down to read the first story in A Perfect Universe, only to look up several hours later having read the entire book in a single sitting. I fell in love with these characters from the first page. The storytelling in this book—tender and attentive, starkly poetic and always surprising—moved me at every turn.”
— Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird and Pleasantville

"The stories in A Perfect Universe describe lives torn by violence of all kinds—physical, emotional, judicial—and they do so with immense intelligence and heart-stopping clarity. Scott O’Connor’s vision of Los Angeles as a place both sprawling and strange, given to both radical privacy and startling intersection, brings to mind another one of the city’s definitive portraits, Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, but has a gnostic brilliance that is entirely his own."
— Matthew Specktor, author of American Dream Machine

“Scott O'Connor's beautifully wrought stories are sharp-edged, unflinching, and filled with the kind of precision of language that etches images into the mind. His characters' lives are ingeniously connected by a '70s cult sci-fi film, but what really binds them is the often heartbreaking and always surprising ways they attempt to find purchase in the world they inhabit, one which can feel as out of reach and inscrutable as the farthest star.”
— Marisa Silver, author of Little Nothing and Mary Coin

“Through a kaleidoscopic cast of characters teeming with desires, hopes, frustrations, and regrets, the compelling stories in A Perfect Universe excite the imagination while appealing to the heart. Scott O'Connor's crystalline prose delivers an ambitious range of voices and narrative structures that reflect the bewildering complexity and quiet beauty of our modern world.”                                                                        
— John Pipkin, author of Woodsburner and The Blind Astronomer's Daughter

“Scott O’Connor’s riveting exploration into the hopes, losses and triumphs of his characters plunges the reader into sprawling Los Angeles, where the entertainment business looms like an extra moon. A brilliant storyteller, O’Connor inhabits his characters and pulls us in after them, exploring lives in which everything is up for grabs and nothing is what you think.”

 
— Kit Reed, author of The Story Until Now and Mormama

“The 10 stories gathered here are remarkable in their simplicity… With the popularity of short story collections on the rise, O’Connor’s addition to the ranks stands out and shines.”

"[A] sometimes wry, sometimes cutting story collection…entertaining stories accessible to all."