By Peter Carey
Alfred A. Knopf, $26.00, 240 pages

Given that The Chemistry of Tears is written by a two-time Booker prize winner, Peter Carey, I was looking forward to dive into this book. The intrigue starts with Catherine being dumbstruck by the sudden death from a heart attack of her secret married lover. She must grieve silently because no one knows of her illicit affair with Matthew. But, actually, one person, her boss, who empathizes with Catherine, does know. To keep her away from curious colleagues, he gives her a restoration project of a mysterious clock commissioned by Henry Brandling, a nineteenth-century Englishman who traveled to Germany to have this clock made. Almost two hundred years later Catherine pores over several notebooks, which he wrote. ||Although the premise of the book sounded interesting, the story just did not come together for me. Carey alternates chapters of Catherine and Henry, which can be effective, but in this instance, the story is felt forced and stilted. While Catherine’s chapters are heartfelt, Henry’s chapters are dry and confusing. Overall, a good storyline, just not effectively executed.

Reviewed by Seniye Groff

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