Top positive review
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A cleverly crafted comedy of social behaviour
on 8 February 2009
This novel was for me an introduction to the writing of Australian writer Kate Grenville. It was passed on to me by an Australian Bookcrossing friend, while she was visiting Italy last year and I have been looking forward to reading it since then. I am really glad that she warned me that the characters in this novel are not typical Australians, as they are certainly a strange collection of eccentrics!
In my opinion it took the first two thirds of the book for the story to build, the last third was the most enjoyable. However althought I felt that although the story line was somewhat weak the characters were strongly portrayed especially the protagonists, Douglas and Harley also Felicity the bankers wife and Mr Chang the butcher.
The story is based in and around the bush town of Karakarook, although the two protagonists actually come from out of town. They are a strange pair whom you would never expect to be attracted to each other, but it is between this socially inept couple that romance blossoms! The story is at times as painful and cringe making as it is touching and laugh out loud funny.
There is an old bent bridge in Karakarook and Douglas is there to replace it, whilst Harley is there to save it by helping set up a museum as an attraction to tourists. It is no surprise really that the book felt slow as it is perhaps reflecting the way of life in the Australian bush.
Not one thing about life or the people in Karakarook seems perfect in complete contrast to the title The Idea of Perfection!