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Standard Deviation
by Katherine Heiny


Overview - *A Skimm Reads Pick*

An uproarious novel ("Both heart-piercing and, crucially, very funny." --Louise Erdrich, The New York Times) 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 Read more...


 
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More About Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
 
 
 
Overview
*A Skimm Reads Pick*

An uproarious novel ("Both heart-piercing and, crucially, very funny." --Louise Erdrich, The New York Times) 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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780385353816
  • ISBN-10: 0385353812
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: May 2017
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Contemporary Women
Books > Fiction > Humorous - General
Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

The paradox of choice

In Katherine Heiny’s debut novel, Standard Deviation, we meet Graham and Audra Cavanaugh, a typical New York couple with a city condo, a kid and a busy social life. Stylish, youngish and always saying outrageous things, Audra is a firecracker who delights and embarrasses all at once. Graham, her much older husband of 12 years, is quieter and more filtered. He loves Audra as she is, but he often finds himself wondering how this marriage of opposites has worked out so well over the years.

In statistics, standard deviation is defined as a measure of how far a number diverges from the group as a whole. The same can be said about Heiny’s novel, as she introduces characters and situations that make Audra and Graham’s relationship appear less and less normal. Among them is Graham’s ex-wife, Elspeth, whom Graham hasn’t talked to in years, but an unexpected run-in rekindles a relationship and leaves him questioning his marriage to Audra. There is also the parenting of Graham and Audra’s 10-year-old son, Matthew, who has Asperger’s syndrome and an obsession with origami. A slew of other interesting and peculiar acquaintances compose a veritable parade through the couple’s living room, adding perspective to their marriage with a bit of comedy mixed in.

Heiny offers a fun read about family dynamics as she sidesteps too much seriousness with quick wit and humorous dialogue.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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