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The Chemistry of Tears - Peter Carey

The Chemistry of Tears - Peter Carey

Title: The Chemistry of Tears

Author:  Peter Carey

ISBN:  9780571279975

Weight:  739g

Signed first edition, first printing



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Our price:  £17.99

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The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey

London 2010, Catherine Gehrig, conservator at the Swinburne museum, learns of the unexpected death of her colleague and lover of thirteen years.  As the mistress of a married man she has to grieve in private.  One other person knows their secret, the director of the museum, who arranges for Catherine to be given a special project away from prying eyes.  Mad with grief, the usually controlled and rational Catherine discovers a series of handwritten notebooks telling the story of the man who originally commissioned the extraordinary and eerie automata she has been asked to bring back to life.

With a precocious new assistant, Amanda, at her side, she starts to piece together both the clockwork puzzle and the story of the mechanical creature which was commissioned in 19th century Germany by an English man, Henry Brandling, as a ‘magical amusement’ for his consumptive son.  Having been asked to leave his home by his wife, Henry turns his hurtful departure into an adventure that he records for his young child.

But it is Catherine Gehrig, in a strangely stormy and overheated London nearly two hundred years later, who will find comfort and wonder in reading Henry’s story.  And it is the automata, in its beautiful, uncanny imitation of life, that will link two strangers confronted with the mysteries of life and death, the miracle and catastrophe of human invention and the body’s astonishing chemistry of love and feeling.

An automaton, a man and a woman who can never meet, a secret love story, and the fate of the world are all brought to life in this hauntingly moving novel from one of the finest writers of our time.

Peer & Press Reviews

The Chemistry of Tears does not let us down.  Indeed, it doesn’t let us go.  For a few days you will be held in its grip.  You’ll re-read sections in case you missed something.  You’ll think, you’ll laugh…  Peter Carey is a master storyteller.

Corrie Perkin, Weekly Review

Characters that beguile and convince, prose that dances or is as careful as poetry, an inventive plot that teases and makes the heart quicken or hurt… this tender tour de force of the imagination succeeds on all fronts.

Rebecca K. Morrison, Independent

Masterly historical fiction that both talks about now, and makes the past seem immediate…  I loved this book for its mysteries, its hinted back stories, its reserve, and its underlying complexity.

Lucy Daniel, Daily Telegraph

Bibliographic Info

Attribute Details
Title: The Chemistry of Tears
Book Features
Edition / printing: First edition, first printing
Overall condition: Fine / Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
Signed: On the title page
Awards and Media
Awards and prizes: International Dublin Literary Award 2014 – longlist
Book Stats
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date:
Printed by: CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon
ISBN 13: 9780571279975
ISBN 10: 057127997X
Format: Hardcover with dust jacket
Pages: 271
Size (h x w x d): 241 x 162 x 27mm
Image and Design Credits
Author photograph: Ashley Gilbertson
Design: Faber
Jacket photograph: Aurelia Jaeger / plainpicture / Readymade-Images

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