The Idea of Perfection

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Viking, 2002 - Fiction - 401 pages
49 Reviews
Published to great acclaim in Britain, Kate Grenville's fifth novel, The Idea of Perfection, recently won the Orange Prize, Britain's most valuable literary award. Set in the eccentric little backwater of Karakarook, New South Wales, pop. 1374, it tells the story of Douglas Cheesman, a shy, gawky engineer with jug-handle ears, and Harley Savage, a large, rawboned, plain woman who is a part-time museum curator. Harley has come to Karakarook to help the town build a heritage museum; Douglas is there to pull down the quaint old Bent Bridge, and from day one, they're on a collision course. Both characters carry a hidden cargo of guilt along with the memories of failed marriages, but out of this unpromising conjunction of opposites, something unexpected happens: something even better than perfection.

Elegantly and compassionately told, The Idea of Perfectionis reminiscent of the work of Carol Shields, Peter Carey, and J.M. Coetzee and shows Kate Grenville as "a writer of extraordinary talent" (The New York Times Book Review).

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Great characterisation and attention to detail. - Goodreads
I recommend as a love story with a twist. - Goodreads
Grenville is a remarkable writer. - Goodreads

Review: The Idea of Perfection

User Review  - Hattie - Goodreads

The writing of this book somehow reflects the detail in which you look at a place or a person or consider your own echo in the Australian outback. I loved it and the internal monologue of the characters Read full review

Review: The Idea of Perfection

User Review  - Bethan - Goodreads

Great characterisation and attention to detail. Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Kate Grenville was born in Sydney in 1950 and is one of Australia's best known writers. Her novels include Lilian's Story, (winner of the prestigious Australian/Vogel Literary Award), Albion's Story, Joan Makes History, and Dreamhouse.

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