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The Idea of Perfection

Picador Classic

3.61 based on 2151 ratings & 199 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

A funny and touching romance
Daily Express
This is an arresting and penetrating read . . . an honest and compelling celebration of imperfection
Grenville has created a unique exploration of human weaknesses and how combining these weaknesses can make a strength
Irish Independent