The Idea of Perfection
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...more
This Australian winner of Britain's Orange Prize tells the story of Douglas Cheeseman, a chronically shy engineer, and Harley Savage, a museum curator who's been having a bad hair day since she was 12. ...more
The book is mostly written in fairly short chapters, each of which focuses on a particular character. The two dominant ones are Harley Sav ...more
It was quite slow-paced, but with a great turn of phrase. I have recently whinged about several books just being too slow for me while I’m impatiently waiting for something to happen, and this book should have made me feel like that. And yet…
I hate it when authors don’t indicate speech using quotation marks. Why do we have quotation marks if people aren’t going to use them? It wasn’t until page 62 I realised that there were no quota ...more
I found Kate Grenville's use of italics a bit irritating, but her descriptive writing is lovely:
"The dawn air wa ...more
Harley Savage is outwardly confident, inwardly a bag of nerves, unsure of herself and of everyone else, although she assumes that they’re good with people and she’s not. I love how Grenville puts all the hackneyed phrases we live behind in italics to emphasise how hard we try to be what we think others expect us to be ...more
I understand that Kate Grenville was encouraged to write something 'lighter' after the very dark novels, Lilian's Story and Dark Places. Since this was written light and dark have continued to be strong themes in her writing.
Harley Savage comes to the rural town of Karakarook to help the locals establish a heritage museum. But what the locals see as heritage differs from what Harley sees and wants. She is after the 'old stuff that most peo ...more
Ms. Grenville again makes you actually feel the heat, the dryness, ...more
There is a third outsider, who is not unattractive, but is just as self-conscious in soc ...more
The story actually revolves around 3 people in a small town called "Karakarook".
1.Harley Savage - a museum curator
2.Douglas Cheeseman- an engineer
3.Mrs.Felicity Porcelline - a common but beauty conscious housewife
Different people meet at a small place, different ideas, different relations, differents views and problems.A place where things dont happen, things are known, things that not cared about and people simple enough and easy with their life.
Writer has beautifully written the " ...more
Anyway, since this book was originally "meant" for women her age, I don't know what to expect after I picked it up from her shelf. The title itself was interesting enough. But the story. Well, that's a different topic.
The book was basically about these two socially-awkward ...more
I'd read Kate Grenville before, but liked this one even better than the other I'd read.
Set in the little town of Karakarook, New South Wales, this follows three characters: two visitors and one who lives there.
Douglas Cheeseman is an unprepossessing middle-aged man who is in town as th ...more
Enter divorcee Douglas Cheeseman, engineer from the Lands Office, in town to tear down the old bridge and start construction of the replacement. A self-co ...more
A slower burner of a book. It took about half way through to get going in terms of the plot, but events were less important in my enjoyment than the development of the characters and the slow immersion into the life of the Australian outback town in which the book was set. the characters were very well drawn, making it almost uncomfortable reading as their self-consciousness and inner turmoils were slowly ...more
Mediocre characterisation meant that the main characters were a mystery for most of the book. The only interesting tid bit in the whole novel was completely overshadowed by the terrible culture stereotype. I couldn't even get a grasp of what it was Ms Savage did exactly? Was she an extraordinary craftswoman? No just sewed 'little bits' of fabric toge ...more
I fell so hard for The Idea of Perfection. The plot does move pretty slowly, but that’s because you’re spending the whole time falling in love with the characters and setting (and having your heart broken).
For you if: You read for characters over plot, or you’re interested in reading an example of amazing use of character and setting in writing.
“But out here, she could see people went by different rules. You did...more
Harley and Douglas are awkward, gauche, unsure of themselves, knocked about by what life has done to them - like most of us. She's a "greenie", keen to preserve the heritage of the small town where she has been sent from Sydney. He's the engineer, with a passionate interest in concrete (I found myself wondering if he has Asperger syndrome). He's been sent to destroy the ancient, buckled bridge which is a metaphor for their won ...more
As I’m falling behind in my reviews I only need to say I loved this; funny, tender and written with such insight, a worthy prize winner.