Perfect Tunes


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
'A moving investigation of love, loss and parenthood' Esquire

The perfect song. The biggest dream. The love of her life.

It’s the early days of the new millennium, and Laura has arrived in New York City’s East Village in the hopes of recording her first album. A songwriter with a one-of-a-kind talent, she’s just beginning to book gigs with her beautiful best friend when she falls hard for a troubled but magnetic musician whose star is on the rise. Their time together is stormy and short-lived – but will reverberate for the rest of Laura’s life.

Fifteen years later, Laura’s teenage daughter is asking questions about her father, questions Laura does not want to answer. Laura has built a stable life in Brooklyn that bears little resemblance to the one she envisioned all those years ago, and she’s taken pains to close the door on what was and what might have been. When her best friend – now a famous musician – comes to town, opportunity knocks for Laura for a second time. Has growing older changed who she is and what she most wants? After all the sacrifices and compromises she’s made along the way, how much is she still that girl from Ohio, with big talent and big dreams?

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.
Praise for Emily Gould
'Emily Gould is massively talented, just as good at devastating us with an emotional truth as she is at amusing us with a clever joke' Curtis Sittenfeld
‘Emily Gould recreates with wit and insight the New York I know: a place full of fame and money that's not yours, where friends become family and lovers become ex-lovers, and the big questions about your life stay unanswered, and unanswerable, for a long time’ Chad Harbach
'A sharp study of female friendship, that treacherous terrain where envy and deep fondness often go hand in hand' Observer
‘A wry, sharply observed coming-of-age story for the post-recession era’ People
‘A vivid exploration of the missed connections and overwhelming isolation of modern urban life . . . Compulsively readable’ Los Angeles Times
‘It points to Ms Gould's abilities as a keen-eyed noticer and her knack for nailing down her ravenous observations with energy and flair’ New York Times

  • Publisher: Scribner UK (August 6, 2020)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471175046

'Perfect Tunes is an intoxicating blend of music, love, and family from one of the essential writers of the internet generation. From the obsessive spark of first love to the complexities of mother-daughter relationships, Emily Gould captures life’s ups, downs, and in-betweens with wisdom and wry humour, giving us one of the great New York coming-of-age stories.'

– Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter

'Perfect Tunes is mind-blowing. I have yet to read any text longer than like one page by Emily Gould in which she doesn’t articulate something I often thought, or felt, but never previously articulated or acknowledged. She is brilliant and fearless. Her take on mothers and daughters, and daughters’ boyfriends, and daughters’ boyfriends’ mothers, and daughters’ daughters boyfriends, is full of unspeakable insights, or at least I thought they were unspeakable, but there they are. Now I want everyone I know to read this book and talk about it with me.'

– Elif Batuman, author of The Possessed

'Perfect Tunes is a zippy and profound story of love, loss, heredity, and parenthood. I gulped it down, as will all mothers, New Yorkers, music fans, and lovers of quick-moving novels that are both funny and deep. I loved every page.'

– Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers

'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

'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

'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. The novel follows a young songwriter and musician in early-aughts New York, so bonus points for music scene and jeans nostalgia'

– Literary Hub, Most Anticipated Books of 2020