The Idea of Perfection

Kate Grenville

2001 Winner

Orange Prize for Fiction

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19 October 2017
432 pages

With an introduction by Evie Wyld

The Idea of Perfection
by Kate Grenville is a funny and touching romance between two people who've given up on love. Set in the eccentric little backwater of Karakarook, New South Wales, pop. 1374, it tells the story of Douglas Cheeseman, a gawky engineer with jug-handle ears, and Harley Savage, a woman altogether too big and too abrupt for comfort.

Harley is in Karakarook to foster 'Heritage', and Douglas is there to pull down the quaint old Bent Bridge. From day one, they're on a collision course. But out of this unpromising conjunction of opposites, something unexpected happens: sometimes even better than perfection.

Grenville makes awkward atmospheres and fumbling encounters wonderfully vivid. Read it and cringe

The Times

From these two reticent characters, besieged by two lifetimes of regret, doubt and dismay, Grenville manufactures an extraordinary comedy of manners, made all more powerful by her own reticence as a writer


Outrageously entertaining

Daily Mail