The untimely death of her lover coincides with the arrival of a new and exciting project for Catherine. Wracked with grief for her deceased, married lover, she throws herself into discovering the secrets of Henry Brandling's automaton.
"There was no one I dared turn to. I thought, I will work. It was what clocks were good for, their intricacy, their peculiar puzzles... I buried my nose inside Matthew's hat. 'Snuffle' we would have said. 'I snuffle you'. 'I snuffle your neck'."
This was not the first Peter Carey novel I have read, yet I found it more engaging than Oscar and Lucinda. The inability of Catherine to deal with her grief that she must keep hidden from her colleagues and the spouse of her dead lover, is palpable and painfully realised through her increasingly erratic behaviour. The juxtaposition of the Automaton story makes for a really intriguing read and provides an avenue of escape from an otherwise depressing subject.
Check it out 5/5.