Author: Graeme Simsion
I read this novel recently and it was a delightfully humourous and sensitive read. A friend of mine suggested I read his copy – I think he knew I needed some light relief!
It’s the story of a ‘quirky’ man fast approaching 40 and still single. He uses his skill as a professor of genetics to design and implement a research experiment to find the ideal partner: the Wife Project is born. Questionnaires are drawn up and the process begins. As a scientist, whose life is dictated by fact, carefully calculated estimates and probability, he finds himself thrown into a world not so easily predicted or controlled.
Excerpt: “In evaluating Elizabeth’s suitability as a potential partner – someone to provide intellectual stimulation, to share activities with, perhaps even to breed with – Claudia’s first concern was my reaction to her choice of glasses frames, which was probably not even her own but the result of advice from an optometrist. This is the world I have to live in.”
I identified with each of the characters and found myself giggling on nearly every page. I also found myself touched by the truth of people who are not entirely mainstream and struggle to find a fit in society. The flip-side of humour is, after all, a little pathos. It was lovely to read a book with some characters close to my age or circumstance and with whom I could identify. The author sensitively addresses what it means to realise that solace has a place but is not always ideal or fulfilling – the story feeds the fairy tale we are told that there is a ‘someone’ for everyone and also the cliché of knowing you miss something once it’s gone.
It’s a light and easy read but manages to highlight the intricacies of human relationships and the beauty of our differences. The author achieves this without undermining the complexity of relationships and, at the same time, by laughing at the absurdity thereof. I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it.
- ***** a must read: entertaining or witty or highly informative
- **** a satisfying read
- *** worth a try
- ** pick it up when you have time
- * leave it on the shelf
Author: Graeme Simsion
Publisher: The Text Publishing Company
Print ISBN: 9781922079770
Email ISBN: 9781921961960