Released on 19 October 2017.

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The Idea of Perfection

Picador Classic

3.62 based on 2194 ratings & 201 reviews on

2001 Winner

Orange Prize for Fiction


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.

In the media

Grenville makes awkward atmospheres and fumbling encounters wonderfully vivid. Read it and cringe
Grenville has created a unique exploration of human weaknesses and how combining these weaknesses can make a strength
Irish Independent
Being the only book voted for the Orange Prize shortlist by both the official judging panel, always an all-female affair, and a shadow panel of men sitting for the first time, was testament to The Idea of Perfection's universal appeal
Australian News