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Our Tiny, Useless Hearts Paperback – 2 Feb 2017
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Laugh-out-loud funny, yet with real emotion at its core, this is a sexy-smart rom-com about love and marriage for fans of Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project or David Nicholls' Us. I loved it. -- Hannah Richell, bestselling author of SECRETS OF THE TIDES * Australian Women's Weekly * Toni Jordan, an elegant and informed writer who might also have shone as a stand-up comedian, is just the writer to catch the merriment of farce as it flies and flick it back between the book covers. * Sydney Morning Herald * That Toni Jordan's new novel manages to be a full-length fiction that simultaneously operates as a hugely enjoyable farce and an emotionally rich domestic drama is a testament to her skills as a writer and the charm of her voice. * The Australian * Three couples go under the lens in this clever and moving comedy about love and marriage. A hilarious and romantic treat * Who Weekly * Jordan exploits her gift for dialogue to very funny effect... When Jordan is not being funny, her writing is crisp and clever... It's an unusual novel that is both ludicrous and bittersweet, but Our Tiny, Useless Hearts is exactly that. * Saturday Paper * A highly entertaining romp through the complexities of modern relationships... Our Tiny Useless Hearts is loads of fun and clever too... A relationship drama with a deftly light touch, and will appeal to fans of romance and screwball comedy. * Bookseller and Publisher * This is a funny, cleverly written story about the ups and downs of relationships and the fallout from indiscretion. The haphazard geometry of these suburban love triangles channels slapstick lunacy and farce so effectively, you can almost hear The Benny Hill Show theme playing in the background. * Qantas Magazine * Brimming with sarcastic humour. * Guardian on ADDITION * Really, really funny. -- Alexandra Heminsley * Radio 2 on ADDITION * An unusual and intriguing novel, written with a very light touch. * Daily Mail on ADDITION * Toni Jordan's debut is mature, witty and entertaining. * Irish Times on ADDITION *
'Our Tiny Useless Hearts is loads of fun and clever too ... A relationship drama with a deftly light touch, and will appeal to fans of romance and screwball comedy.' (Bookseller + Publisher)
'That Toni Jordan's new novel manages to be a full-length fiction that simultaneously operates as a hugely enjoyable farce and an emotionally rich domestic drama is a testament to her skills as a writer and the charm of her voice.' (The Australian) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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[SLIGHT SPOILER] Caroline and Janice are sisters -> Caroline is married to Henry -> Henry is leaving Caroline for school teacher Martha -> Janice is divorced from Alec and still has feels for him -> Lesley and Craig are the nosy next door neighbours, and Craig has been having an affair with Caroline.
For me personally, I found all this a little far fetched. I felt like there were too many stories attempting to be shoved into one book. The book could have been about Caroline and Henry, and their marriage falling apart, or Lesley and Craig where Lesley is sure he isn’t being faithful, or Janice and Alec and why they got divorced but still love each other. Having the three relationships in one book – plus two children and one pizza man, felt a little jumbled and disjointed.
The book has some pretty funny, if not slightly cliche moments – and the humour is quite witty and enjoyable. The one reason I didn’t rate this book higher was the characters. Though there’s a whole range of them, I didn’t really have an attachment to any of them. I found most of them pretty self-centred and unlikeable and that put me off the story in a big way. Despite this the story is well written, and evenly paced. If you enjoy some light chick-lit with a bit of dark humour involved, this one will be right up your street.
The book is about Janice who arrives to chaos. Her sister's husband has been cheating with a younger woman. They are now fighting and Caroline does not want to give it all up.
But then the chaos gets worse as a neighbor shows up through a window. It seems Caroline was not as innocent as she seemed. And the neighbour and wife will have their own fight.
As Janice tries to meddle in the crisis we learn that she has her own drama. Which was a bit sadder than the suburban drama with the rest.
The book takes place during a weekend. There are fights, revelations and well, everyone makes their own happiness. Nothing is perfect and hearts do not always come into the equation.
It was like watching a train wreck unfold. Messy lives makes for messy neighbors. Dry wit.
A laugh-out-loud, sharply funny book that should come with a warning to not read it in public. I couldn’t stop laughing as the story becomes more comic and complicated at the same time. Unique characters and witty dialogues create a brilliant and fascinating comedy that I couldn’t put down.
Our Tiny, Useless Hearts is the fourth novel by award-winning Australian author, Toni Jordan. It’s Saturday morning, and Janice (38, microbiologist) would normally be at the lab tending to her nice, predictable bacteria. But today, she’s at her sister’s place, dealing with unpredictable humans, trying to avert disaster.
Caroline (41, mother of Mercedes and Paris) is having a meltdown: Henry, her husband of fifteen years, is leaving. As he packs his belongings, Janice scoots between husband and wife, desperate to mend the rift for the sake of her young nieces. Mercedes readily offers opinions but Paris is worryingly silent. In the midst of this drama, Craig and Lesley, next-door neighbours pop in to offer gratuitous advice.
Janice’s efforts are unsuccessful: the fact that she divorced Alec, the love of her life, two years ago, apparently disqualifies her from offering relationship advice. Henry is determined, and soon pretty young Martha (Miss Roland, teacher of Mercedes) turns up to collect him in her jaunty orange VW beetle.
Jordan gives the reader a sitcom that would be easy to envisage on the stage: characters depart on flights to Noosa (and return unexpectedly); climb a garden trellis; turn up naked in the wrong bed; talk at crossed purposes; are overcome by passion (or pretend to be). Doorbells ring at highly inopportune moments; ex’s, mistresses, lovers and neighbours turn up to stay the night; secrets are revealed.
The strength of any good farce lies with the dialogue, and Jordan fills her novel with clever banter, malapropisms and the delightful observations of children: “It’s only for grown-ups. It’s sour, but when you get old, that’s what you like” (Mercedes on wine).
Except for the charming Mercedes and Paris, all the characters are flawed and very human. Some, like Alec, are (very) appealing, some, like Craig, eminently throttle-able: “You’re allowed to experience lust. It’s natural. I hate to see female passion being suppressed by the societal conventions of the male-dominant paradigm of the phallocentric patriarchy”.
Amidst the comedy, Jordan manages to touch on infidelity (of course), infertility, single-parent families, a common childhood misconception about cats and dogs, and the contents of the high cupboard in the kitchen. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but also one or two to cause a lump in the throat.
There should be a warning attached to this book, however. Reading in public may garner disapproval due to the inelegant snorting, snickering and laughing out loud which is inevitable. Similarly, reading certain passages whilst eating or drinking is inadvisable due to a possible choking hazard or other food/drink related mishap.
The back-cover blurb states “Toni Jordan harnesses the exquisite timing of classic farce to the narrative power and emotional intelligence for which she is famous to produce a brilliant, heartbreaking, hilarious novel”. A more accurate or succinct description than this would be difficult to conceive. This book is an absolute pleasure to read and fans of Jordan’s work will not be disappointed.
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