Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Idea of Perfection-Kate Grenville

The Idea of Perfection-Kate Grenville

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 401
gender: F
nationality: Australia
year: 1999

Harley Savage is a plain woman, a part-time museum curator and quilting expert with three failed marriages and a heart condition. Douglas Cheeseman is a shy, gawky engineer with jug-handle ears, one marriage gone sour, and a crippling lack of physical courage. They meet in the little Australian town of Karakarook, where Harley has arrived to help the town build a heritage museum and Douglas to demolish the quaint old Bent Bridge. From the beginning they are on a collision course until the unexpected sets them both free.

I enjoyed this novel-the coming together of two self-conscious awkward people was sometimes a bit too realistic but handled very well. I really enjoyed the way the contrasts worked-two people damaged deeply by an upbringing coming together contrasted with a perfectionist, somewhat self centred woman destroying herself- to make the overall messsage clear: Perfection is in the imperfections. I also really enjoyed the use of concrete as a metaphor to demonstrate the importance of both strength and flexibility-something I'd not read before. The book feels a bit stark-the understated prose is as unflinching on the sun blasting down on its setting. It made the personal, the not-usually voiced self-consciousness of the unsure truly ring out and stand out. You're thrown into this unforgiving landscape of sun, broad expanses of panorama, and the insecure minds which have time to dwell in the lifestyle of a small, isolated town.

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