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The Perfect Play

Louise Wener

203 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0060585471 / ISBN 13: 9780060585471
Published by William Morrow, 2004
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Perfect Play

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Edition: 1.

About this title


A funny and heartfelt novel of high-stakes poker, lost love and gambling on oneself, Louise Wener's The Perfect Play is the story of a woman who can find happiness only by discovering the answer to the question that has haunted her since she was eleven years old.

Playing the cards life has dealt her has left Audrey Unger anxious, obsessive and without a sense of direction. Audrey's professional poker-playing father left her and her mother behind when she was eleven, his only explanation a note that advised that "one day you'll understand this was probably for the best." Now, about to turn thirty-three and poised on the edge of her own midlife crisis -- one that has her sorting her peas into prime number groups -- Audrey makes the decision to try to find him. She's prepared to risk everything in her attempt to understand him, and to finally ask what made him choose poker over his only daughter.

Big Louie is the key to her father's gambling world -- as well as an agoraphobic, ill-tempered card genius who hasn’t left his apartment in more than two years! Fighting his own phobias, he takes Audrey on a journey of self-discovery, guiding her through the subtleties of professional poker and igniting her passion for the thrill of high-stakes gambling that her father found so alluring. Shuffling a hand that includes an overprotective boyfriend, twin magician stepbrothers and a Las Vegas con man, Audrey is propelled to a play a final game of poker that will change her life forever.

With extraordinary perception and emotional insight, Louise Wener captures the comedy, pathos and drama that mark each of our lives in this compelling page-turner that exposes the dark underworld of real Las Vegas poker. Smart, absorbing and addictive, The Perfect Play introduces a writer with an edgy and entertaining style all her own.


Louise Wener's The Perfect Play is the story Audrey Unger, an urbane Brit whose quest for her estranged poker-playing father takes her on a journey through the projects of London to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, stopping along the way to grapple with the beginnings of a mid-life crisis that only U2 front-man Bono seems to be able to cure. Brilliant with numbers, Audrey's luck changes when she meets Big Louie, a massive agoraphobic who takes her under his wing and agrees to teach her the game of poker in exchange for a window box that will remind him of what lies outside his self-made prison. Edgy, witty, and quite funny, The Perfect Play combines Chick Lit sensibilities with a healthy dose of suspense and instruction, making this a rewarding read for both men and women alike.

Piggy-backing on the popularity of poker, Wener does a laudable job of integrating the game into the very essence of Audrey's quest. Also admirable is her ability to create real relationships between her characters; when Big Louie finally comes clean with Audrey, the honesty is palpable. ("But like I said, the odds don't always go your way in the world. It's how you handle the bad bets that counts... You gotta promise me something, Audrey. I mean it. You gotta promise that you won't end up like me.") And while Audrey's growing distance from her loved ones, including her far-too-perfect boyfriend Joe, seems to resolve itself far too neatly, we've become so invested in her happiness that we're content to accept a fairy-tale ending. --Gisele Toueg

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