When Catherine's secret lover dies suddenly, she has nowhere to turn to except her work. A middle-aged curator in a London museum, Catherine is given a very particular project: a box of intricate clockwork parts that appear to be the remains of a 19th century automaton - a beautifully made mechanical bird. When she discovers the diary of the man who commissioned the machine, she is partially rescued from one obsession by another: who was Henry Brandling, and the mysterious, visionary clockmaker he hired to make a gift for his absent son? And what was the end result that now sits in pieces in her studio?
The Chemistry of Tears is both wildly entertaining and deeply moving, a portrait of love and loss that is simultaneously delicate and anarchic.
What disappointed you about The Chemistry of Tears?
As ever the Peter Carey's prose is very good but the story is affected, the characters unpleasant. Frankly it is boring.
Quite an unusual novel, but I guess similar events have happened where a woman who is caught in a long term affair is left devastated when her lover suddenly dies. He didn't have the courage to leave his unhappy marriage but conducted a long term affair with a vulnerable woman in secret. She learns she was selected as young woman because of her youth and beauty by a work colleague to be used as a mistress to his friend who chose to remain married to a nasty woman.
It is interestingly interwoven with the story of the making of an antique clock and the behaviour of various characters and their ambitions. Well worth a read.