Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Perfect Night to Go to China” as Want to Read:
A Perfect Night to Go to China
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Perfect Night to Go to China

3.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  382 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
" Winner of the 2005 Governor General s Award for Fiction" This astonishing novel - unlike anything Gilmour has ever written before - begins with every parent s worst nightmare: the disappearance of a child. A father makes a casual error of judgement one evening and leaves his six-year-old son alone for fifteen minutes. When he returns the child is gone and three lives are ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published February 26th 2005 by Thomas Allen Publishers (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Perfect Night to Go to China, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Perfect Night to Go to China

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 604)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Pardis Parto
باید بلند میشدم، باید آشپزخانه کوچک اتاقم را تمیز میکردم، به کتاب خواندن ادامه میدادم یا اینکه میرفتم پایین به سرسرای هتل. از ماندن کنار زخم هایم در تاریکی چیزی عایدم نمیشد. چیزی نبود که به آن فکر کنم، هیچ چیز جدید یا سودمندی نبود، فقط همان فیلم تکراری من خسته که به طرف پایین خیابان میرفتم، چند تا آبجو میخوردم، به دخترهای گروه موسیقی لبخند میزدم، به خانه برمیگشتم. بوی او در خانه، تخت خالی، به تعداد لکه های خورشیدی که میتوان در یک فیلم دید، به آن موضوع فکر کرده بودم.

شخصيت اصلي اين داستان، رومن، م
Jan 01, 2012 Caleigh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I read the reviews on the book jacket of A Perfect Night to Go to China and most of them I completely disagree with. I didn't find it "luminous" or "refreshing" in the slightest. I agree that the "spare and darkly funny" style made it an "uncomfortably pleasurable read", but I won't say that's entirely a compliment.

I think that my first issue with the book is the premise that a young boy is kidnapped while his father goes to a bar and has several drinks. I realize this is key to later events
Dec 21, 2009 Shane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The GG's must have had slim pickings the year Gilmour won the award for this (very) short novel.

While I empathize with the protagonist, Roman, for losing his son due to bad timing, he does not come across as a likeable man. He is famous, but he has no friends. He is estranged from his wife. He does not give a shit about his job. The only two people important to him are his mother and his son - both departed from this world, and only to be found in a dream space resembling a French-speaking Carib
Saeed Habibi
جذبم کرد و طوری پیش رفت که تا حدودی از شخصیت خود داستان به دور شدم و خودم را بهجاش تصور کردم. نویسنده لحظههای مختلف را در غالب احساسات یکسان اما به ظاهر متفاوت نشان میداد که باعث میشد خودت رو در یکسری نبودن ببینی که دیگه دلیلی برای عدم وجودش نیست.

-"فکر کردم اگر او دیگر خبری از پدر و مادرش نمیگیرد برای این نیست که دلش برای آنها تنگ نشده، به خاطر این است که میداند پرسیدن دیگر فایدهای ندارد. او پسر باهوشی است. میداند چطور بیحرکت دراز بکشد و منتظر بماند."

-"با خودم فکر کردم، به خودت فشار نیاور، عجلها
Apr 22, 2011 Brittany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who follows the news
How I Came To Read This Book: It was nestled in my bookshelf from unknown origins. Likely the boyfriend read it for Can Lit in school.

The Plot: Roman is a self-absorbed TV host who makes the casual mistake of going out for a drink one night, only to return home to find his six-year-old missing. The rest of the book basically follows his mental and physical deterioration as he grapples with the immense, overpowering feeling of guilt that consumes him after his son's disappearance.

The Good &
Jun 18, 2011 Mohsenkhosro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
شاید بهتر بود این کتاب را یک شبه بخوانم ! تا حس سفر کردن به چین آن هم در شبی عالی را داشته باشم !

هر چند "شبی عالی ..." با تغییر فضاها از توهمات به واقعیات و از واقعیات به توهمات به صورت آنی ، ابتدا کمی نامفهوم به نظر می رسد ، اما بعد از آنکه در چند قسمت نخست به این رویه عادت کنید چنان داستان روان میشود که حتما از خواندن آن و متوهم شدن به همراه تنها شخصیت و راوی داستان ، لذت خواهید برد...

به نظر نگارنده محترم! اشخاص زیر از این کتاب لذت بیشتر خواند برد!

بیماران روانی . آنهایی که ذهن بیمار دارند. آنه
Oct 07, 2010 Pedram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Drilling,sensational and outstanding.
An intellectual journey through labyrinth of a mind preoccupied with morbid visions.
The backfire of bitter old memories,the constant torment of an overactive imagination,and a life rushing to an ambigous appaling closure,all lead to the protagonist's self-destruction.
One of the best images in contemporary literature depicting the sense of apathy .A pathetic image of a depressed man who searches for redemption in hallucinations,But it seems even by altered pe
Rachel Deeming
I wanted to read some Canadian literature and not Margaret Atwood but I was a little disappointed in this really. A mix of the real and the ethereal, it tells the story of a boy who goes missing in the night while his dad, a TV celebrity is out at a club. It deals with the search for him and how Roman, the dad, knows Simon, his son, is alive but can't find him in the physical world, only being able to locate him when he sleeping.
This deals with the idea of a man paying the worst price for fiftee
Jan 14, 2015 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am only giving this winner of the 2005 Governor General's award a 3.5 because while I enjoyed reading this story and appreciated the writing, I could not really feel sympathetic for the main character even though he has suffered a great loss. His 6-year-old son has gone missing and is never found. After he puts him to bed he goes out to a bar on the same block as his apartment, for what he says is only 20 minutes, and when he returns the door is open and his son is gone. The story does not go ...more
Mar 18, 2015 Iris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yesterday, while out I found this short book on the curb down the street from my house. I finished it today. It was that compelling. The protagonist may be brutish and a lout and flouting the dissociative disorder made famous in Albert Camus' short absurdist book l'etranger (only this one really loves his mother), but who cares? Most of my favourite central characters have a salty streak: From Philip Roth's Mickey Sabbath to Salinger's Holden Caulfield. I was gripped by the narrator's singular f ...more
Not that it is bad. it just does not have much memorable about it and there are so many i prefer.
Maryam Muhammadi
Sep 07, 2010 Maryam Muhammadi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
داشتن نثری ساده و روان و پر از احساساتی که به راحتی بیان شده بود، از ویژگی های اصلی کتاب بود.

Austin John
Dec 26, 2015 Austin John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gilmour takes a great literally concept and throws it out the window in this 200 page ego-jerk. Gilmour writes of the mental depreciation of a man whose son has gone missing, but misses the mark. The breakdown is not natural or altogether sensical. Instead, it winds up being a trope checklist in which Gilmour fills all boxes unsatisfactorally. Gilmour thinks he's the next Palhaniuk but he's just another in a long line of authors who put their interests before a good novel. Maybe Gilmour should r ...more
Jim Puskas
Aug 18, 2015 Jim Puskas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
David Gilmour, you need help! Either you've yet to regain your personal equilibrium after having endured an emotionally abusive relationship or you're under the misapprehension that readers are apt to identify with a protagonist who is preoccupied with being a victim. Have you actually experienced a marriage gone so badly wrong as that of your protagonist, Roman? His wife's degree of venom is almost beyond belief -- passages such as "I must have been pretty arrogant back then .. when I met you . ...more
Mar 22, 2014 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting premise - an unsympathetic central character who is dealing with the disappearance of his son. Watching as this man unravels, I found it at times riveting and then boring, and sometimes the ambiguity of Gilmour's language made me go back and re-read a couple of chapters. And what is the significance of the colour red? This was our book club selection, and it fascinated me how polarized were the various reactions. It's a beautifully written book about a very difficult and emotional ...more
Crystal Allen
Jul 31, 2009 Crystal Allen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The entire time I was reading this book I had eeriest sense of Deja Vu. I think I must have read it a few years ago. I saw it at the library and thought to myself "Oh, I've been meaning to read this!"

The premise of this book is interesting. A man makes a tragic choice one evening and leaves his son home alone for 15 minutes while he goes down the street to the neighborhood bar. When he returns the boy is missing. The police are able to turn up nothing and when another child is kidnapped media s
At the beginning of A Perfect Night to Go to China, Roman is at home with his six-year old son Simon. His wife M. is out of the country on a business trip. After he's put Simon to bed for the night, Roman hears strains of music coming from the bar on the corner of his street. It's only a block away, within sight of his house. Roman steps out. Fifteen minutes and two quick beers later, he returns home to find the front door of his house open and his son gone.

Throughout the rest of the novel, Roma
Oct 26, 2014 Lacy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was not very interesting, or very well put together.

A father stupidly leaves his child alone at night, and SURPRISE, the child goes missing. This is 100% the father's fault, and I felt absolutely no pity for him. His child is likely dead, and that is simply because the father is an incompetent mess, who should not be allowed to roam freely.

Roman, the main character, mopes around for the entire novel, feeling sorry for himself. (view spoiler)
Maryam Malkian
نصف شب بود که به خانه رسیدم. در اتاق خواب بسته بود. به اتاق مطالعه رفتم. دفترچه خاطراتم را بیرون کشیدم، آن را ورق زدم. تمام آن نوشتهها دربارهٔ زنها بود، چه قدر تشنهٔ بدنهایشان بودم. مثل خاطرات مردی بودند که دچار بینظمی در غذا خوردن باشد، مردی که نمیتواند جلو رویاهایش را در مورد شکلات و نان خامهای بگیرد. حالم از خودم به هم خورد، از آن همه حماقت، فقدان آینده نگری. اما نمیتوانستم دست از خواندن بردارم، نمیتوانستم دفترچه را ببندم چون در تمام صفحاتش، وقتی آنها را مینوشتم سایمون همان نزدیکی بود. یا آن ...more
Donald Schopflocher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2010 Miranda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was immediately hooked into this book. The author's style of prose makes you feel like you've jumped into the middle of an interesting mystery and you're hoping to unravel more details.
While the story was compelling and without spoiling anything, had a good hook...I felt like I was waiting for it to flesh out the whole time rather than actually enjoying what I was reading.
I did enjoy the author's descriptions of certain things, as they were original and vibrant, but everything else felt shall
Dec 01, 2012 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to become very irritated by David Gilmour's books. It seemed like he couldn't write about anything besides his obsession with sex and (usually much younger) women. This was only exacerbated by his appearances on TV, hosting shows about the arts, where i found out he was also arrogant and self-obsessed. He also used to overuse these two words - 'adore' and conversely 'loathe'. BUT. Maybe aging his done him good. His last two books, the one about watching movies with his son and this one, h ...more
Sep 21, 2015 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I agree with the previous reviewers who found Roman to be such an unsympathetic character that it negatively affected their reading. Definitely an uncomfortable read.
Jennifer Irvine
Really easy read. Unexpected as I just picked it up and started reading. Flowed well, carrot dangling all the way. Always a wonderful surprise when this happens!
Christa Hutten
Jan 31, 2016 Christa Hutten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many holes/vague, which I suppose was the intent of the author to leave ones imagination reeling throughout the entire quick read.
Mar 01, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with great anticipation since it was a Governor General's Literary Awards winner. Maybe I was expecting too much but I found it rather shallow in terms of characterization and in general very ordinary. It never jumped off the page and engaged me.

I'm learning that whenever I see something like - "Gilmour's prose style is spare" - in a review I should take a pass on the book. I lean the other way to rich, lyrical prose - and that is definitely not David Gilmour's style assuming "
More of a novella than a novel but a good read
Jul 02, 2014 Nill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
گم شدن یه آدم یا مردنش،فرقی نداره،حادثه اییه که اتفاق میفته و تک تک صحنه های زندگیت رو تحت تاثیر خودش قرار می ده. خوندن این کتاب با تموم اندوه لای کلمه هاش برام لذت بخش بود
Doriana Bisegna
I enjoy all of David Gilmour's novels for their starkness and simplicity. In this novel, the narrator's son goes missing and the novel deals with the aftermath of that one bad decision that can change the course of your life. You can imagine the agony, the heartbreak and the hope that encompasses every page and yet it has a very unexpected end! Gilmour's novels always deal with the human experience and this one is no different. Each one resonates with me in a different way. That in itself is an ...more
Sonya Han
This was a captivating book. But even though I couldn't stop following Roman's journey for one moment and grieve with him deeply, why do I feel no warmth for him? I felt as if I knew him in real life, I'd barely stand to have a coffee with him. For M. on the other hand, despite seeing a great deal less of her in the book, I really felt for her. I wanted to be there to give her a hug and bring her food.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
ELEVEN READER'S CLUB: update 5 1 7 Jan 17, 2013 12:40AM  
ELEVEN READER'S CLUB: update 4 1 4 Jan 17, 2013 12:13AM  
ELEVEN READER'S CLUB: update 3 1 3 Jan 15, 2013 08:40PM  
ELEVEN READER'S CLUB: update 2 1 4 Jan 14, 2013 11:06PM  
ELEVEN READER'S CLUB: update 1 1 2 Jan 14, 2013 10:07PM  
ELEVEN READER'S CLUB: A Perfect Night to Go to China 1 13 Sep 30, 2012 10:29AM  
  • Luck
  • The Origin of Species
  • Nights Below Station Street
  • The Watch that Ends the Night
  • Elle
  • A Discovery Of Strangers
  • The Studhorse Man
  • Galveston
  • St. Urbain's Horseman
  • Dropped Threads: What We Aren't Told
  • Elizabeth and After
  • Cities of Refuge
  • Rue Deschambault
  • Megiddo's Shadow
  • Learning To Love
  • Kilter
  • A Jest of God
  • The Purchase
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

David Gilmour is a novelist who has earned critical praise from literary figures as diverse as William Burroughs and Northrop Frye, and from publications as different as the New York Times to People magazine. The author of six novels, he also hosted the award-winning Gilmour
More about David Gilmour...

Share This Book