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The Perfect Stranger

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  49 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Section 9 of this book originally appeared in "Transatlantic Review".

The Early years of poet P.J. Kavanagh's life - which took him froma Butlin's Holiday Camp to Switzerland and Paris, to a battlefield in Korea, to Oxford and Barcelona and finally to Java - made little sense to him, until "Something extraordinary happened": his meeting with Sally, "the perfect stranger".

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Paperback, Third impression October 1986, 182 pages
Published 1986 by Flamingo (Fontana Paperbacks)London. Collins Publishing (first published 1966)
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(showing 1-29 of 325)
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Kate
"The early years of poet P.J. Kavanagh's life -- which took him from a Butlin's Holiday Camp to Switzerland and Paris, to a battlefield in Korea, to Oxford and Barcelona, and finally to Java -- made little sense to him, until 'something extraordinary happened': his meeting with Sally, 'the perfect stranger'.

This tender, funny and quite unsentimental record of the uniqueness of human love is as much a celebration of joy -- despite its abrupt and shocking conclusion -- as it is a poet's tribute of
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Amna Waqar
Jun 11, 2016 Amna Waqar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.

Written in 1966, 'The Perfect Stranger' is a memoir of the early years of Kavanagh's life. I found this to be quite odd, but later realised that he had written this due to the death of his young wife, Sally. "This is my memorial to what happened between us...The rest of my life, any sense I can make of it, is a memorial to that." But, if only his memoir had more of his marriage to Sally in it, I may have found it actually interesting to read. Instead
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Laura-Ann
May 13, 2016 Laura-Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book via a Goodreads giveaway.

Prior to reading this book I had never heard of P. J. Kavanagh, but that doesn't take away from the book at all. It seems like he led quite an interesting young life.

There's a chapter about his time in Korea which is written as a stream of consciousness - at first it may seem hard to read, but it really does bring the situation alive to the reader. The most touching part is the final couple of chapters when he's talking of his wife. This was particularly
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Jennifer
Apr 18, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as part of Good Reads First Reads
Having read on the cover that this book was a memoir I was looking forward to deep tales of the person's life and the way it shaped him into becoming the man he turned into.
From following from the days of schooling through boarding school and then the army and onwards into a civilian life I found the tales to be a bit dull. Nothing in the book really grabbed my attention. Maybe because it was squashed into just over 200 pages .....but then ag
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Jennifer Moville
Apr 18, 2016 Jennifer Moville rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
having received this book from Good Reads First Reads I was intrigued to try something a bit different than the books I usually read. How I wish I hadn't. Far from actually knowing who PJ Kavanagh actually was I found this to be a very rushed book about the start to finish of a life of a man who could have been any one. As the book went on I found the chapters never really got me enthralled nor excited to know what the man did next and although I finished the book to the last page it is not one ...more
Veronica
Jun 27, 2016 Veronica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Veronica by: Slightly Foxed
Shelves: non-fiction, mooched
P J Kavanagh kept popping up as a minor character in other memoirs I read, and I've also read Rosamond Lehmann's The Swan in the Evening, her memoir of the death of her daughter Sally at the age of 24, and her subsequent psychic experiences. Then Slightly Foxed had a review of Kavanagh's own memoir of his early life, so I mooched it.

Kavanagh was a poet, so the prose is rich and full of lovely aphorisms. The part about his Korean war experience is written as a stream-of-consciousness short story,
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Lois Tuffield
I was told that this book is a 'must' for anybody who grew up in the sixties - a book, like On The Road, that is 'cult' for that era. I was disappointed. The actual story, the love story that is described on the cover, doesn't really start until the last quarter of the book. It's a memoir, a genre which I like, but it doesn't do a lot for me.
Michelle
I won this book on a goodread giveaway. A quaint english account of a young males exploits
during and just after war time. Likeable characters and a good wholesome read Many Thanks
Kelly Burr
Jun 15, 2016 Kelly Burr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book through a good reads giveaway.
Firstly, this was not a book that I felt compelled to read, you know the kind, the real page turners that you cannot put down and before you realise it, you are still reading the darn thing at 1 am.

The story caught my attention and I really wanted to finish it but the authors style was not my usual bedtime reading. I found it challenging.... if I was laying on a beach in the middle of the day I could probably of got to grips with it more.

All in al
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Jason RB
an incredibly sweet book, with an ending that is the literary equivalent of a baseball bat to the balls.

Maureen
May 09, 2016 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a Goodreads Giveaway. I loved this book - particularly like true stories and this was a true love story - sometimes happy and sometimes sad - but I really felt as though I was PJK as he went through all the ups and downs of his life. A very enjoyable read.
Velvetink
Dec 22, 2010 Velvetink marked it as to-read
bargain = 1 of 29 books for $5.
Laura
Apr 10, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sad and lovely.
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P. J. Kavanagh was a poet, writer, actor, broadcaster and columnist. Born in 1931, son of the radio comedy writer Ted Kavanagh, he went to a Benedictine school, served in the Korean war during national service, and worked for the British Council in Barcelona and Indonesia. He acted on stage and TV – his last appearance in an episode of Father Ted. The Perfect Stranger, awarded the Richard Hillary ...more
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