Julie's Reviews > The Chemistry of Tears

The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey
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's review
Jul 04, 2012

it was ok
Read in July, 2012


I will allow that this is probably an excellent book, written by an excellent author. Other reviews have noted that it might have been better to have read it with a book club, as insights would be gained by the comments of other readers.

That comment does make me feel a bit better, because I must admit to being thoroughly confused throughout most of this book. And, that is just not why I pick up a book to read. I like to understand what is going on in a story, I don't enjoy wondering what just happened....what that meant.....

I have never read anything by this author. I picked this book out of the library because it sounded like a good tale. I knew absolutely nothing about automatons. Maybe it would have helped if I did, but since I don't understand how the simplest machines work, all the detail on the "mysterium tremendum" was lost on me! And, Catherine didn't grieve in a way I could empathise with. Her most secret affair was not secret after all, so she did have someone to talk with. She chose not to. So utterly consumed with love, why didn't they marry?? Someone who had worked in preservation her whole life would fling an antiquity across the room?? Why was she so sad while deleting his emails?? He had sent them all to her, hadn't he? Wouldn't everything received and everything send be on her own computer??

See? It is small stuff like this that just didn't fly. But, since he is a prize winning author, I must conclude that I just am not up to the task of reading and enjoying his books. Task?? Reading, to me, isn't supposed to be a task. Reading this book, while I did enjoy parts and soooo wanted to know what was going to be the final outcome, just wasn't satisfying. Am I the only person who wished to know if the duck that turned into a swan cured Percy?? I wanted to know that a lot more than I wanted to have it pointed out to me that machines may result in the extermination of mankind as we know it.

There. My conclusion--this guy writes wonderful books that I don't enjoy reading. But.....maybe......I will try another..... :-)

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Reading Progress

06/21 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Dianne (new)

Dianne I so agree, especially with your conclusion. How can someone who so confounds me send me scurrying right out for yet another hit?

Aischa I totally agree with you! Fascinating story line, but like you, I felt lost on what was going on, or why things were unfolding in that way. Very unnerving, as a reader, to feel lost. I'm a quarter of the way in, and I'm wondering how he could have written such a poorly crafted book.

Donna You're not the only person left wondering about what happened to Percy. I know it's shallow of me, but when the book began falling apart for me at the two-thirds mark, learning Percy's fate was the one thing I had to hold onto which kept me reading. It would have been wonderful to learn that the swan not only came to life, but gave life. I would have been satisfied just to learn the boy was still alive when his father returned to him. And while I realize it was not the point of this book, I could not helping feeling robbed by the ending which brought no resolution to this part of the story.

message 4: by Helen (new)

Helen Oh you are all more dedicated readers than me. I actually gave up reading 2/3 of the way through.
I didn't understand the book either and I have to admit I'm not sure why Carey is so highly regarded. There I've said it.

Ellen I agree with you. All those little flaws you mention not to mention the ending which told us very little. And as for Amanda attacking Cat at work; that would simply not have been allowed to pass as if nothing had happened. I found it very hard to accept.

message 6: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Baron Oh no, we don't find out about Percy? I am 2/3 of the way trhough, just barely escaped Sumper's telling of his mentor. Who cares about the mentor? And Catherine's grieving? I did not feel it was realistic. Going to finish but this will be my first and last Peter Carey book.

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