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What disappointed you about The Chemistry of Tears?
As ever the Peter Carey's prose is very good but the story is affected, the characters unpleasant. Frankly it is boring.
Quite an unusual novel, but I guess similar events have happened where a woman who is caught in a long term affair is left devastated when her lover suddenly dies. He didn't have the courage to leave his unhappy marriage but conducted a long term affair with a vulnerable woman in secret. She learns she was selected as young woman because of her youth and beauty by a work colleague to be used as a mistress to his friend who chose to remain married to a nasty woman.
It is interestingly interwoven with the story of the making of an antique clock and the behaviour of various characters and their ambitions. Well worth a read.