Introducing… Perfect Tunes by Judith Long
The perfect song. The biggest dream. The love of her life.
Funny, wise, and tender-hearted, Perfect Tunes explores the fault lines in our most important relationships, and asks whether dreams deferred can ever be reclaimed.
Cast your mind back to the early years of the new millennium. Jeans were bootcut and low-rise. Glitter went with everything. Bags were tiny, hair was super straight, no one knew yet how Friends or Harry Potter were going to end. The Strokes were the hot new band that we couldn’t get enough of (unless you were more of a Britney fan, but I’d say there’s room in your hearts for both).
This is where we meet Laura, a one-of-a-kind talent who dreams of turning her songwriting passion into a career, and her best friend Callie, who dreams of just being somebody. They’re in their early 20s and the world is their oyster as they leave Ohio and move to New York to make something of themselves. They work hard, play hard, live their New York dream, and things are really starting to come together – their futures are looking bright. But then, tragedy strikes. Both women make decisions that will send their lives in wildly different directions.
Fifteen years later, Laura’s teenage daughter is asking questions about her father, opening a door to her past that Laura has worked hard to keep firmly shut as she’s tried to move on from everything that was and could have been. And when Callie, now an internationally-famous superstar, comes back into town, opportunity knocks for Laura for a second time.
After all this time, all the compromises and sacrifices she’s made along the way, how much is she still that girl from Ohio with big dreams and the talent to match? Have motherhood, marriage and living her life changed who she is and what she most wants?
In a life full of so many decisions, how do any of us know which ones are going to be the most life-altering? Which ones we can’t take back? Which ones will lead us towards or away from our lifelong dreams?
We’re publishing Perfect Tunes through Scribner, so it’s not technically a Books and the City book, but it is absolutely a book to fall in love with. At team BATC, we’ve all fallen hard for Laura and know you will too.
Perfect Tunes goes to the heart of the relationships that sustain us, how they support us and evolve over time. It’s an ode (or rather, an epic 80s power ballad*) to the power of friendship and an always-timely reminder that it may get messy, but amazing things can happen if you’re brave enough to be bold.
*Not even remotely set in the 1980s, just imagine that level of feeling…
‘Perfect Tunes is an intoxicating blend of music, love and family… one of the great New York coming-of-age stories’ Stephanie Danler
‘A profound story of love, loss, heredity and parenthood… both funny and deep’ Emma Straub
‘Mind-blowing… brilliant and fearless’ Elif Batuman
‘The author of Friendship returns with a second novel about the intricacies of relationships between women, this time centred on a mother and daughter searching for answers across the mysterious gulf of the mother’s past. As Marie asks questions about her mother’s youth as a songwriter in New York City, Laura must open the door on a time in her life that she sought to forget. Brimming with gemlike insight and humour, Perfect Tunes is a moving investigation of love, loss and parenthood.’ Esquire – Best Books of 2020
‘Her writing is observant and unfussy, and she has a knack for addressing serious subjects, such as the hardships of parenting and the darkness of depression, while keeping things light… The pleasure of this book is in Gould’s astute details about everything from a hangover (which made Laura’s head feel like a “black banana”) to relationships’ Washington Post
‘Perfect Tunes has many of those big before-and-after moments and many of those rippling after-effects; it shows the ways in which we are all, always, having to reimagine the story of our lives… Through it all, Gould’s insights into what makes up the sometimes barely perceptible beats of our lives are sensitive and spot-on — as is her perfect description of what it’s like to have sex in a too-close-to-the-ceiling loft bed’ Refinery29
‘This exploration of music, motherhood, identity, and the dividing line between love and lust feels like a time capsule of post-9/11 New York, and its time jump to present-day Brooklyn will feel familiar to many readers struggling to keep families intact under less-than-ideal circumstances’ Vogue
‘It’s as much a meditation on what it means to grow up as it is an ode to motherhood and love in its purest form’ InStyle
‘Sharply observant… Gould’s portrait of a would-be artist as a young woman offers fresh, poignant insights into the challenges faced by the city’s transplanted dreamers’ Publishers Weekly
‘Perfect Tunes, her second novel, which tells the story of a friendship, a tumultuous love affair, and motherhood, is just the right balance of acerbic and warm’ LitHub