"An arch is two weaknesses which together make a strength."
. . . Leonardo da Vinci
The Idea of Perfection (1999) is about two people who seem the least likely
in the world to fall in love. Douglas Cheeseman is an awkward engineer, the
sort of divorced man you'd never look at twice. Harley Savage is a big,
plain, abrasive woman who's been through three husbands and doesn't want
another. Both of them bring all kinds of unhappy baggage to their meeting
in the little town of Karakarook, New South Wales, population 1,374.
Being in Karakarook is something of a voyage of discovery for both of them.
Unlike Felicity Porcelline, a woman dangerously haunted by the idea of
perfection, they come to understand that what looks like weakness can be
the best kind of strength.
The Idea of Perfection was a surprise winner of the Orange Prize, Britain's
richest literary prize, in 2001.