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The Idea of Perfection

3.62 based on 2136 ratings & 198 reviews on Goodreads.com

2001 Winner

Orange Prize for Fiction

Synopsis

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

The Idea of Perfection 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 collison course. But out of this unpromising conjunction of opposites, something unexpected happens: sometimes even better than perfection.

'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' Guardian

'Outrageously entertaining' Daily Mail

'Mined throughout with little pockets of danger and depth' Guardian

'A truly amazing writer' Rosie Boycott, chair of the Orange Prize jury

In the media

It's an outrageously entertaining book - witty, tender and full of a no-nonsense lyricism . . . by alerting us to novels this good, the [Orange] Prize more than justifies its existence
Daily Mail
A funny and touching romance
Daily Express
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