Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville

About this book

Harley Savage, a big and somewhat manly woman, is sent to Karakarook, from Sydney, to set up a local Heritage Museum. Douglas Cheeseman, an awkward engineer with a fear of heights, has been ordered by Head Office to oversee the demolition of the village's historical bridge. 

What I think

I absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down. It kept me amused for two hours straight on a boat trip to and from Macau. Although I love reading, it still takes a good book to keep me interested for that length of time. This book, as the title suggests, is all about our ideas of perfection and imperfection in the world. It's beautifully written and the attention to detail is superb. 

This book is like an anti-love story. The two main characters, Harley and Douglas,  who have given up on love and almost on life, meet under strange and abnormal circumstances. Both in this tiny village to do a job, they develop a tentative relationship and you wonder if they will stand in their own way.  

The village of Karakarook is like a character as it plays such a strong role. The heat, the dust, the windy lanes, the river; they all add value to this narrative. The many minor characters, who are just as quirky and interesting as the main characters, wouldn't belong in a 'big city'.  

About the author

Kate Grenville is an Australian author. She has published eight fictional novels and four books about writing. The Idea of Perfection (1999) won the Orange Prize for Fiction, Britain's richest literary prize, in 2001. 


  1. Can't believe I have never heard of this book! I'm starting a list.

  2. A neat review of an interesting book. Are you planning to read any of her Waiting Books? Let me know.
    The Writing Book
    Making Stories
    Writing from Start to Finish
    Searching for the Secret River


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