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The idea of perfection by Kate Grenville
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The idea of perfection (original 2000; edition 2000)

by Kate Grenville

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9394417,444 (3.8)323
Set in the eccentric backwater of Karakarook (pop. 1374) New South Wales, this is the story of Douglas Cheeseman, a shy and clumsy engineer with jug-ears who meets Harley Savage, a woman who is known for being rather large and abrupt. Douglas is there to pull down a quaint old bridge and Harley aims to foster heritage. They are clearly on a collision course - but when they meet they are unaware that something unexpected is going to happen...… (more)
Member:Sirch
Title:The idea of perfection
Authors:Kate Grenville
Info:South Melbourne : Picador, 2000, c1999
Collections:Your library
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The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville (2000)

  1. 00
    Lamb in Love by Carrie Brown (SylviaC)
    SylviaC: Both books are about socially awkward characters discovering each other, and both are written in unusual narrative styles.
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» See also 323 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
(8.5) This book is all about the characters. Ordinary folk who are wonderfully drawn. The theme of the historic bridge is the vehicle which brings them all together. ( )
  HelenBaker | Feb 4, 2017 |
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 house wife

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 "awkward" moments in characters life (as well as ours), which natually are pushed back. The story has a happy ending and shows a wonderful conversation between our minds and others (which actually goes on concurrently).
( )
  PallaviSharma | May 9, 2016 |
In The Idea of Perfection we experience very closely the inner dialogues of three major players who proceed with varying degrees of self-consciousness. Two of them are painfully self-aware; they concern themselves deeply with how others view them, and assume the worst. The third navigates her life as thought she’s a spectator in it: she nearly dissociates herself from her less desirable acts, while trying, perhaps subconsciously, to atone for them in her more-aware moments. This brilliant book won the 2000 Orange Prize for fiction and completely deserves it.

Two lives converge in the bush country of New South Wales as the book begins. Two strangers arrive independently in Karakarook from Sydney, one a government engineer who will manage the destruction and replacement of an out-of-date bridge, and the other a specialist in heritage and culture who will assist in establishing a museum. He, the gawky engineer with the jug-handle ears and a crippling lack of confidence, and she, the tall, heavyset, and irascible curator, encounter each other. They do not hit if off immediately, to say the least, and the unlikely first date (a delightfully comic stretch of writing) doesn’t help.

But Ms. Grenville, one of my favorites since I encountered The Secret River, has set up the lovely, elegant narrative construct of the crumbling bridge. This simple, past-its-prime span, built from timber and intended to last, has suffered from the effects of a flood some years ago. Certain townsfolk protest the decision to replace it, citing it as one of the chief historical attractions of the backwater town.

All these facts serve the author’s conceit of building bridges, of spanning obstacles, between people. However effectively this framework is established, though, its resolution rises solely from human action - thought, reflection, intention, and deed. And herein lies Ms. Grenville’s greatest feat. The principals themselves must come to terms with their habitual isolation, and decide whether the opportunity before them offers sufficient potential for them to change. There are many touches here - too many to mention - that certify the author’s great skill and award-winning vision. Cover to cover this is a great, a masterful performance.

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-idea-of-perfection-by-kate-grenvi... ( )
1 vote LukeS | Apr 9, 2016 |
I liked this book, but I found myself not picking it up for long periods of time. It is actually the reason I am so behind in all of my other work, because I just couldn't stay with it long enough to get through for any extended time. I wanted to really get excited about it. I wanted to be able to pick it up and not put it down. It had the potential for me, but it didn't quite reach the mark, so I just wandered through it for a while, wandered away and then found myself back again the next day, wondering why I hadn't read as far as I usually do with books of this type. I can see why it was the winner for the Women's Prize for Fiction in 2001, but I can't see why it didn't hit me harder than it did.

I think the speed of the book matched the speed of the town that it was set in. When you read The Idea of Perfection, you definitely get to experience the slower, small town country lifestyle and it does immerse you in the experience in that regard. On the other hand there were some things that were too much, like the main character repeating her failings over and over and over. You understand her guilt at the end, when her situation is completely revealed, but I remember thinking, "If she says that ONE MORE TIME...!" That thought came to my mind repeatedly, even after I knew what had happened to her to make her think that way. Yes, some people are insecure about themselves, but I felt like you could tell that without wallowing in it so much that it becomes uncomfortable for the reader for all the wrong reasons. I think your personality type has a lot to do with what you will take out of this book. ( )
  mirrani | Mar 9, 2016 |
This title generated a lot of discussion. Some felt that the book was unresolved and ended too quickly; definitely a character driven title. Some saw the humor and some of us didn't. None of us liked Felicity and were confused by Freddy Chang. We commented on the symbolism, broken characters, meaning of the names and self-perception. ( )
  Bibliofemmes | Sep 18, 2015 |
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In his ex-wife's clever decorating magazines Douglas Cheeseman had seen mattress ticking being amusing.
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Set in the eccentric backwater of Karakarook (pop. 1374) New South Wales, this is the story of Douglas Cheeseman, a shy and clumsy engineer with jug-ears who meets Harley Savage, a woman who is known for being rather large and abrupt. Douglas is there to pull down a quaint old bridge and Harley aims to foster heritage. They are clearly on a collision course - but when they meet they are unaware that something unexpected is going to happen...

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