The Perfect Stranger

A MEMOIR OF LOVE AND SURVIVAL

P.J. Kavanagh

Published by September in Hardback (£14.99) on 28-05-2015

‘A fine memorial to youth and love – perhaps to the youth and love of all our generation’  MICHAEL FRAYN

First published in 1966, The Perfect Stranger is a uniquely male examination of deep, all-consuming love. It is also the story of a young man’s passage into adulthood, and with it, the search for a sense of ‘arrival’ that goes hand in hand with youth.

We follow the adventures and incarnations of a young man as he journeys from the austere conditions of 1940s boarding school to the tomfoolery of the Redcoats at Butlins; from colourful sojourns across Europe to life as a serving soldier in Korea; then finally and joyfully to a settled life in academia and poetry. But most powerful of all is his emotional life as a lover and husband, and his intense, tragic relationship with a girl called Sally Lehmann.

Acutely observed and unsentimental, Kavanagh captures the intoxicating, obsessive and almost otherworldly nature of love with a brutal, unnerving honesty. It’s an extraordinarily raw and masculine depiction of how a man is capable of giving himself utterly a woman.

Admirers of the The Perfect Stranger include Michael Frayn, Richard Ingrams and David Nicholls. It was hailed by critics on publication as an instant classic which utterly re-invented the memoir genre.

‘I’ve re-read The Perfect Stranger many times and still think it, though unique, a model “of its kind” ’ DEREK MAHON

PR Collective’s current campaigns

See more campaigns →

Radical Revenge

We all know what it’s like to want revenge, but where does that urge come from?  Why is it so hard to give up?  And why can some people only satisfy it through extreme and brutal acts?  In her new book, Radical Revenge, Renée Danziger draws on psychoanalytic thinking to offer a fresh perspective on […]

Read more →

Light to Life

In this fascinating, revelatory new book, biologist Raffael Jovine takes us on a journey of discovery into the intricate, beautiful and often surprising processes that convert energy from the sun into life and how all-important these are to our survival. Despite the unprecedented challenges the Earth faces from global warming, habitat loss, air pollution and […]

Read more →

The Art of Repair

It all started with a pair of socks… White, woollen – my favourite pair. The heels had become thin and threadbare; then a small hole appeared on one of the toes. Too precious to throw away, I decided to mend them. I chose a ball of yarn from my mother’s wool collection and she found me her old darning mushroom, which had once belonged to my granny, and explained the basics. I remember the feeling of it: threading the needle with a strand of contrasting grey wool, while pulling the heel over the domed wooden mushroom; weaving my needle in and out of the surviving strands; making little bridges back and forth like a lawn mower; slowly closing the hole. The process was instinctive. I can still recall the feeling of pride and achievement when I had finally finished. Sure my darn looked a little rustic, but I had given my socks
a new lease of life, a second chance.

Read more →