Author(s): Emily Perkins
Dorothy Forrest is immersed in the sensory world around her; she lives in the flickering moment. From the age of seven, when her odd, disenfranchised family moves from New York City to the wide skies of Auckland, to the very end of her life, this is her great gift and possible misfortune. Through the wilderness of a commune, to falling in love, to early marriage and motherhood, from the glorious anguish of parenting to the loss of everything worked for and the unexpected return of love, Dorothy is swept along by time. Her family looms and recedes; revelations come to light; death changes everything, but somehow life remains as potent as it ever was, and the joy in just being won't let her go. In a narrative that shifts and moves, growing as wild as the characters, The Forrests is an extraordinary literary achievement. A novel that sings with colour and memory, it speaks of family and time, dysfunction, ageing and loneliness, about heat, youth, and how life can change if 'you're lucky enough to be around for it'.
Perkins' remarkable achievement in this novel is to manipulate our experience of time so that the narrative moves forward much as life is experienced, or remembered: some events and details attain an intensity that make them indelible and shape our development, even though it is not always easy to determine why this might be, as others, perhaps larger, pass as not much more than a matter of course. We are shunted very willingly through the messy unease of this dysfunctional family, at once both comic and tragic, and observe Dorothy's relationships, especially that with her sister Evelyn, with Perkins' unwavering eye. - Thomas
FINALIST FOR THE NEW ZEALAND POST BOOK AWARDS 2013
An extraordinary literary novel, this is prize-winning author Emily Perkins's greatest work to date
Perkins is an extraordinary writer ... The Forrests is a novel to be savoured -- Daisy Goodwin Sunday Times Dexterously communicates some of life's less-syncopated rhythms ... Funny, painful and utterly mesmerising Independent on Sunday The novel I would most like to press into my friends' suitcases this summer ... kept me up reading late into the night -- Helen Brown Daily Telegraph Literary fiction at its most luscious Mail on Sunday Word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph this book accelerates into brilliance ... remarkable -- Tom Sutcliffe BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review Extraordinary ... It is so sensitively rendered that you feel every detail, down to the blades of grass that grazes the children's knees ... It seems, in these pages, as if Perkins has a special gift for capturing a child's inner universe, but the talent extends itself as the novel progresses to the incandescent joys and devastations of teenage love, the compromises of mid-life and the tragedy of old age ... a magnificent novel -- Arifa Akba Independent Perkins writes vividly and often beautifully ... an intelligent and perceptive novel -- Allan Massie Scotsman The landscape is vividly, tangibly present, Perkins' descriptions make you stop and stare ... Dorothy's is an ordinary, wondrous life, told with an engaging intensity, in language that constantly surprises and delights Psychologies
Emily Perkins is the author of Not Her Real Name, a collection of short stories which won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and the novels Leave Before You Go, The New Girl and, most recently, Novel About My Wife, winner of the Believer Award. Emily Perkins lives in New Zealand.