Title: The Chemistry of Tears
Author: Peter Carey
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Xmas Gift
Catherine Gehrig, a museum conservator and clock expert, finds out that
her very married lover of thirteen years has dropped dead, she has keep
her grief a secret. But with no outlet other than vodka, her sorrow is
close to driving the hyper-rational Catherine mad. The only person who
knew of their affair--her boss--tries to distract and rescue her by
giving her a project that demands all of her attention: the
reconstruction of an elaborate nineteenth-century automaton. In the
crates containing its bits and pieces, Catherine discovers a series of
notebooks written by Henry Brandling, who, in 1854, commissioned the
extraordinary, eerie mechanical creature in an attempt to bring joy to
his consumptive little son. Henry's is a personal account of his
adventures in the wilds of Germany, a diary that brings Catherine
unexpected comfort, fellow feeling and wonder. But it is the automaton
itself, in its beautiful, uncanny imitation of life, that links Henry's
life to Catherine's, as both are confronted with the miracle and
catastrophe of human invention, and the body's astonishing chemistry of
love and feeling. (Goodreads Synopsis)
This is one of those books that really stays with you long after you close the final page.
The storyline is intriguing and the characters are interesting and engaging. In particular, I liked the way the two storylines wove into one another, more and more as the book progressed.
This is a highly readable piece. Sure, it does leave the reader with a lot of unsolved questions, but I believe that element of mystery is what really adds depth to the piece and I, for one, did not mind that the full truth will never be known.
This is masterful storytelling and should please any literary fiction fan.