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Standard Deviation Hardcover – 1 Jun 2017
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‘Audra Daltry is a singular creation – a character so funny, so appealing, so sure that she can change the world for her family that she will jump right off the page and take up permanent residence in your heart. Standard Deviation is a marvel’ Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life
‘A book so funny and perceptive I want to be friends with its author’ Laline Paull, author of The Bees
‘I have been a fan of Katherine Heiny's writing for years but my adoration of her reaches a new apex with this, her first novel, Standard Deviation. It's an irresistibly charming novel about age-old institutions: marriage and parenting. But Heiny's brilliantly drawn characters and her keen insights make both topics feel brand new. A delightful, refreshing novel that illuminates the world of complicated relationships’ Elin Hilderbrand, author of Here’s to Us
Praise for Single, Carefree, Mellow:
‘A wry, bittersweet debut … like Cheever mixed with Ephron’ New York Times
‘No matter how good you imagine it is, it's better’ Glamour
‘A book that somehow manages to be both laugh-out-loud funny and wise, sometimes in the very same sentence … Amazing, brilliant, and nothing short of wonderful’ Jennifer Close, author of Girls in White Dresses
‘Lorrie Moore’s influence is palpable … these enjoyable stories mark the arrival of an accomplished voice’ Independent
‘Exquisitely-composed stories, Heiny’s book takes a disarming and wry look at the inherent nature of betrayal and secrets within relationships’ Elle
About the Author
Katherine Heiny is the author of Single, Carefree, Mellow, a fantastically received short story collection. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and children.
Top Customer Reviews
the blurb, "Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself privileged to live in the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop through her epidural, labour and delivery, invites the doorman to move in and the eccentric members of their son’s Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is charming and spontaneous and fun but life with her can be exhausting."
It's a début novel of Katherine Heiny and by the end of the first chapter I couldn't put it down.
It had realistic and quirky characters, twists and turns and was also very funny.
As the blurb states Graham has a second wife. Audra, for whom he left Elspeth.
It's more character driven than plot driven but each character is funny and I already want to read this again.
It’s a great book. Again I feel that direct connection to the author. I get what’s she’s doing. I will be very surprised if I read a better book this year. I feel very confident in saying this will probably my book of the year.
There’s no story. It’s just a meander through the lives of an interesting, well-realised couple over the period of maybe a year or two. This was fine. Plot was not needed. Her characters, humour and prose were more than enough – and I say this as someone who doesn’t get excited about good prose as proper content trumps fancy metaphors every single time. This combines proper literary content with good writing. Her writing is quick paced without unnecessary descriptions. Her style is almost minimalist without becoming too spare.
I loved this book. I have no complaints to make about it. If someone was to ask me what my model definition of an ideal book is, I would point them to this. This contains the perfect example of what I consider to be good literature.
There isn't much in the way of an action-packed plot, if that's what you're looking for. The storyline is character-driven and Heiny has a real talent for writing entertaining, perceptive and funny dialogue. The standout character, for me, is Audra. She's Graham’s second wife and her personality is a polar opposite from his first wife, Elspeth. Elspeth, a lawyer, is sophisticated, quiet and introverted while Audra is a social butterfly who thinks nothing of inviting strangers for dinner and delights in making friends with anyone. I laughed out loud several times at certain things she said or did.
Standard Deviation is a light, easy read. Its strength lies in the vividness of the characters and Heiny’s gift for writing entertaining, perceptive observations and dialogue. I missed out on a review copy of Heiny's first book (Single, Carefree, Mellow – a collection of short stories), but I'll certainly seek out more of her work based on my enjoyment of her debut novel.
Some dry and reflective humour serve to push the narrative along, particularly her observations that derive from familiarity in any relationships - the highs and lows, the ups and downs of the positives and negatives.
Is the grass really greener on the other side? Is a “safe” relationship based on predictability and uniformity better than one of chaos and unpredictability? With Elspeth and Audra, we see two sides to the coin - Elspeth unruffable out of iciness, and Audra unruffable out of obliviousness and sheer ditziness. Poor Graham has significant dilemmas in trying to sort all this out, often seeming caught between a rock and a hard place, in a condition of quiet desperation and emotionally conflicted for most of the time. A novel to recommend
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the story of Graham. A man on his second marriage to Audra.
But Graham has a first wife - Elspeth - who inevitably is somewhat different to Audra. Read more
I really enjoyed Katherine Heiny's debut collection of short stories, "Single, Carefree, Mellow", and this novel is even better. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eleanor