The Chemistry of Tears
The Chemistry of Tears is both wildly entertaining and deeply moving, a portrait of love and loss that is simultaneously delicate and anarchic. At its heart is an image only the masterful Peter Carey could breath such life into - an object made of equal parts magic, art and science, a delight that contains the seeds of our age's downfall.
When Catherine's lover dies suddenly, she has no one to turn to - their affair had been disguised from their colleagues and his family - except her work. A middle-aged curator in a London museum, Catherine is given a very particular project by the perceptive head of her department: a box of intricate clockwork parts that appear to be the remains of a nineteenth century automaton - a beautifully made mechanical bird. When she discovers that the box also contains the diary of the man who commissioned the machine, she is partially rescued from one obsession by another - who were 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?
Peter Carey is the author of eleven novels (including one for children), three volumes of short stories, and two books on travel. Amongst other prizes, Carey has won the Booker Prize twice (for Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang), the Commonwealth Writers' Prize twice (for Jack Maggs and True History of the Kelly Gang), and the Miles Franklin Literary Award three times (for Bliss, Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs).