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

    ‘There is texture, intelligence, warmth and perspicacity that lifts it into the realms of Carol Shields or Curtis Sittenfeld. It plays in my head as a movie directed by Noah Baumbach or Nora Ephron … I chuckled my way through Standard Deviation, but at times it made my heart ache’ The Times

    ‘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 Atkinson

    ‘Brilliantly funny’ India Knight

    ‘Heiny’s novel is a comic masterpiece and her Audra is the funniest heroine ever. A faltering marriage, a vulnerable child, an origami class full of seriously weird loners – dark material transformed into pure gold by Heiny’s spot-on comic timing’ Observer

    ‘Funny, fresh, 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

    ‘There are some painfully hilarious exchanges, but underlying the jokes is an emotionally intelligent dissection of conflicting inner worlds’ Sunday Times

    ‘Wonderful … It is easier to catalog this novel’s individual sly charms than it is to nail down the essential, quicksilver thing that makes it such a success’ New York Times Book Review

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

    ‘Evoking the smart, stylish wit of Laurie Colwin, Nora Ephron, and Maria Semple’ NPR