The Idea of Perfection

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Viking, 2002 - Fiction - 401 pages
23 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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Review: The Idea of Perfection

User Review  - Lynley - Goodreads

Beautiful writing. Great portrayal of the Australian 'bush' which, as one of the characters notes, has no actual bush. (I've wondered about myself.) I'm imagining somewhere out Tumut way, but had to ... Read full review

Review: The Idea of Perfection

User Review  - Christine Bowen - Goodreads

This was a great slow-burning story of two people with poor self esteem discovering their own self worth and finding happiness in each other. I love the opening quote about an arch being the strength ... 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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