Standard Deviation

Katherine Heiny. Knopf, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-35381-6
This first novel from Heiny (Single, Carefree, Mellow) meanders cheerfully along, making up for its relative lack of action with its humor and insight into characters. Introverted, middle-aged Graham has been married for 12 years to his talkative, younger second wife Audra, and he’s beginning to wonder whether they’re really suited for each other, or if he should have stuck with his “tall and slim and regal” attorney ex-wife Elspeth, with whom he’s just begun speaking again. Graham and Audra have a 10-year-old son, Matthew, who is socially awkward and obsessed with origami, and about whom they spend a good deal of their mental energy worrying. They host Thanksgiving for an assortment of quirky characters, including the misfit adults from Matthew’s origami club; take their son and a friend they nickname “Derek Rottweiler” on an ill-fated fishing expedition; and attend an unexpected funeral. Heiny has a flair for peculiar but believable dialogue, and a generous attitude towards even the most inept characters, particularly Graham, whose befuddlement about his life choices and his longing to smooth things out for his son persist throughout the changes in his life. At the heart of the novel is a finely tuned awareness of the fragility of the most seemingly permanent connections and the ambivalence shot through even the hardiest forms of love. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/20/2017
Release date: 05/23/2017
Compact Disc - 978-0-553-41003-7
Audio Product - 978-0-385-35382-3
Hardcover - 446 pages - 978-1-4328-4413-4
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-8041-7316-2
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