Standard Deviation

  • by Katherine Heiny
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
  • 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A divinely funny novel from the celebrated author of Single, Carefree, Mellow about the challenges of a good marriage, the delight and heartache of raising children, and the irresistible temptation to wonder about the path not taken.
When Graham Cavanaugh divorced his first wife, it was to marry his girlfriend, Audra, a woman as irrepressible as she is spontaneous and fun. But, Graham learns, life with Audra can also be exhausting, constantly interrupted by chatty phone calls, picky-eater houseguests, and invitations to weddings of people he's never met. Audra firmly believes that through the sheer force of her personality, she can overcome the most socially challenging interactions, shepherding her son through awkward playdates and origami club, and even deciding to establish a friendship with Graham's first wife, Elspeth. Graham isn't sure he understands why Audra longs to be friends with the woman he divorced. After all, former spouses are hard to categorize - are they enemies, old flames, or just people you know really, really well? And as Graham and Audra share dinners, holidays, and late glasses of wine with his first wife, he starts to wonder: how can anyone love two such different women? Did I make the right choice? Is there a right choice?
A hilarious and rueful debut novel of love, marriage, infidelity, and origami, Standard Deviation never deviates from the superb.

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What the Critics Say

"Audra Daltry is a singular creation - a character so funny, so appealing, so sure that she can change the world for her family that she will jump right off the page and take up permanent residence in your heart. Standard Deviation is a marvel." (Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life )
"Standard Deviation is a winning effort that smartly examines the ties that bind in even the most unlikely of marriages...Heiny's gift for quick-witted dialogue displays the skill of an observational comic.... Provides a consistent flow of humor. With its assortment of quirky characters who stumble through life even as, to all outward appearances, many of them should have it mastered, Standard Deviation bears a certain resemblance to the work of Anne Tyler." ( Shelf Awareness)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great entertainment. Smart and funny: Really funny

Thank you Katherine Heiny for keeping me thoroughly entertained throughout. I really fell in love with ditsy Audra who is richer than most of us in how she looks at life. I miss her already.
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- Joan

What Is Normal Anyway??

I don't know which I loved more--Heiny's sparkling writing or Campbell's perfect delivery of the material. Campbell was spot on with her timing and voicing of all these unusual characters. In many ways she made the book for me.

This story is funny--incredibly funny--and it's also unsettling and sad in parts. I think you will probably smile a good deal of the time you are listening. I also occasionally winced, cringed, guffawed and laughed right out loud. The dialogue was fantastic. The internal thoughts of the characters added so much depth to the story. These are characters that grew on me gradually and by the end of the story I felt I really knew them.

Heiny tackled complex topics of parenthood, marriage, friendship and fitting in--or really in this book not fitting in--but connecting with others all the same. To me, the story was a bit all over the place and I wondered if it might end up just being a simple laugh-fest. Then with the final chapter Heiny pulled it all together and catapulted this into one of my favorite recent listens. Give it time, for me it was worth it.

This book explores eccentricity, diversity and the outliers in our lives. It also casts an eye toward extreme behaviors that have become norms in our modern world. I thought it was terrific. Be aware, considerable frank talk and outrageous behavior ahead.
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- Sara

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-23-2017
  • Publisher: Random House Audio