Standard Deviation

Katherine Heiny

Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself privileged to live in the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop through her epidural, labour and delivery, invites the doorman to move in and the eccentric members of their son’s Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is charming and spontaneous and fun but life with her can be exhausting.

In the midst of the day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a child with Asperger’s, his first wife, Elspeth, reenters Graham’s life. Former spouses are hard to categorize – are they friends, enemies, old flames, or just people who know you really, really well? Graham starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did he make the right choice? Is there a right choice?

Reviews of Standard Deviation

  • Not only one of the funniest books you will ever read, but true and poignant, too. Audra is one of the most memorable comic characters ever to leap from the pages of a book’ Daily Mail

    ‘Audra Daltry is a singular creation – a character so funny, so appealing, so sure that she can change the world for her family that she will jump right off the page and take up permanent residence in your heart’ Kate Atikinson

    ‘Deceptively light-hearted and rueful, its sharpness masked in humour … There are some painfully hilarious exchanges, but underlying the jokes is an emotionally intelligent dissection of conflicting inner worlds … Measured on laughs per page, Heiny lives up to her promise’ Sunday Times

    Addictive reading – funny, fresh but with the kind of perceptive observations that make you see family life, friendship, parenting and marriage anew’ Mail on Sunday

    ‘Heiny’s characters – charming, flawed, relatable, tragic, hilarious – are faultlessly constructed, lingering long in the memory like family or friends’ Observer

    ‘A book so funny and perceptive I want to be friends with its author’ Laline Paull

    Both heart-piercing and, crucially, very funny’ Louise Erdrich, New York Times

    WonderfulTo spend 300-plus pages with Heiny’s wry voice and colourful cast of characters is to love them, truly’ Kirkus

    Funny, delightful, and poignant beyond any reasonable expectations … The novel I’m recommending to everyone who asks, urging that they read it to cheer themselves up, laugh out loud, and ponder the complications and charm of everyday life’ Omnivoracious

    Irresistibly charming A delightful, refreshing novel that illuminates the world of complicated relationships’ Elin Hilderbrand

    ‘Warmhearted and even funnier than Single, Carefree, Mellow … evoking the smart, stylish wit of Laurie Colwin, Nora Ephron, and Maria Semple’ NPR