When Catherine's secret lover dies suddenly, she has nowhere to turn to except her work. A middle-aged curator in a London museum, Catherine is given a very particular project: a box of intricate clockwork parts that appear to be the remains of a 19th century automaton - a beautifully made mechanical bird. When she discovers the diary of the man who commissioned the machine, she is partially rescued from one obsession by another: who was 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?
The Chemistry of Tears is both wildly entertaining and deeply moving, a portrait of love and loss that is simultaneously delicate and anarchic.
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As ever the Peter Carey's prose is very good but the story is affected, the characters unpleasant. Frankly it is boring.