The Chemistry of Tears – alive with the vivid evocation of place and period that is always Carey’s forte – juxtaposes love for a dead partner with love for a dying son . . . A novel by one of the present day’s most unconventionally creative writers. Oddball characters are propelled along zigzagging narrative channels, connections made with whimsical aplomb. As always, too, everything is burnished with vitalisingly poetic images. The Chemistry of Tears isn’t only about life and inventiveness: it overflows with them.”

—Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times


“Peter Carey’s dazzling new novel, The Chemistry of Tears, encompasses heartbreak, the comfort of absorbing work, the transformative power of beauty and the soul of an old machine. If you’ve never read [Carey], it is a terrific introduction to his work. Once again, he demonstrates an artful ability to capture a two-way interplay between past and present that is part historical, part fanciful, and completely wonderful . . . Carey’s gorgeously written, intricately assembled book runs as smoothly as a well-oiled machine.”

NPR, Heather McAlpin,


“Mr Carey is one of the finest living writers in English. His best books satisfy both intellectually and emotionally; he is lyrical yet never forgets the imperative to entertain.”

The Economist


“A profoundly detailed study of love and grief…Carey has built us a captivating replica of the most timeless piece of machinery of all—a broken heart .

Seattle Times, Tyrone Beason,


“Audacious yet restrained, tender yet sardonic, and filled with moments of emotional complexity . . . A beautifully elegiac hymn to lost love.”

—Patrick Arlington, Australian Book Review


“[A] heady blend of sex and death . . . Carey’s wild hybrid novels are always intriguing, sometimes transporting, never ordinary.”

 — New York Times, Janet Maslin,


“A master-class of writing and human insight is to be found in Peter Carey’s new novel with its thrillingly off-kilter focus . . . There is so much powerful human emotion rising from the pages.”

Irish Examiner, Liam Heylin


“An automaton that … would make the title character in Hugo wet his pants.”

The Oregonian Jeff Baker


“Carey is a bewitching storyteller preternaturally attuned to our endless struggles over love and eccentric obsessions . . . This [is a] fairy tale within a fairy tale rife with historical and literary allusions . . . Raises provocative questions about life, death, and memory and our power to create and destroy . . . Gripping.”

Booklist, Donna Seaman,


“Masterly historical fiction that both talks about now, and makes the past seem immediate . . . I loved this book for its mysteries, its hinted back stories, its reserve, and its underlying complexity.”

—Lucy Daniel, Daily Telegraph


“Wonderful . . . This deeply moving, intellectually profound novel on the heartbreaking grief of ‘living machines’ tells the story of the essential human desire to return to the individual Edens that we inhabited before we knew about the unavoidable pain of our mechanical lives . . . Beautifully told.”

Nature, Minsoo Kang,


“[Carey] remains a writer with an unerring sense for the perverse in human affairs. The continual and guilty delight of these early sections, the funniest, most cutting and anarchic, is that they acknowledge what we know to be true but dare not say: grief gives delirious licence to all those behaviours we otherwise hold in check.”

Weekend Australian, Geordie Williamson. 


“Peter Carey’s [is an] intricately constructed narrative, with its tender, astringent reflections on the nature of love and mortality, human ingenuity and human destructiveness . . . The fine bloom on his writing, the sharp, green bite of emotion and the pellucid observation seem entirely unaffected by success and a (well-deserved) place in the modern canon.”

London Evening Standard, Jane Shilling and David Sexton 


“This is a comic novel . . . but it’s also a serious examination of love and loss and grief and obsession and how we manage to keep going even when all clocks have stopped.”

The Spectator (Australia) Stephen Romei.


“Characters that beguile and convince, prose that dances or is as careful as poetry, an inventive plot that teases and makes the heart quicken or hurt, paced with masterly precision, yet with a space for the ideas to breathe and expand in dialogue with the reader, unusual settings of place and time: this tender tour de force of the imagination succeeds on all fronts.”

—Rebecca Morrison, The Independent, UK


“A consummate storyteller, vastly and raucously entertaining.”

Sydney Morning Herald, Andrew Riemer


The Chemistry of Tears is yet another triumph for its creator, breath-catchingly beautiful and tender in places, with strange and shocking revelations slowly revealed.”

The List, Camilla Pia, 


“Once again, Carey the alchemist takes his base materials and produces something rare and prized . . . The Chemistry of Tears is about madness in various forms: the madness of grief, of creative ambition, of expecting technology to bring salvation, of trying to find prophecy in chaos. It has a sense of hope and wonder . . . I devoured The Chemistry of Tears in a day.”, J.D. Ellevson 


The Chemistry of Tears does not let us down. Indeed, it doesn’t let us go. For a few days you will be held in its grip. You’ll re-read sections in case you missed something. You’ll think, you’ll laugh . . . Peter Carey is a master storyteller.”

The Weekly Review, Corrie Perkin 


Leave it to a protean virtuoso like Peter Carey to write a novel …that draws compelling parallels between a Victorian-era automaton of a defecating duck and the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And, what’s more, to make of it another delightfully recondite tour-de-force performance.

Toronto Star, Emily Donaldson


“Shows the playful side of Peter Carey at full stretch . . . Replete with diversions, jokes and red herrings . . . The Chemistry of Tears is at once exuberant and chastening in its portrayal of loss.”

Canberra Times, Peter Pierce 


“This is a brilliant book, full of secrets, mystery, grief and love . . . impossible to put down . . . A beautiful, complex narrative.”

—Lizzie Stafford, Sunday Mail (Brisbane) 

“Carey’s latest book is just as beautifully written and entertaining as its predecessors. Written in his signature style, moving and witty at the same time, his narrative takes hold right from the beginning and maintains its pace throughout … Profoundly moving but leavened with Carey’s characteristic whimsical humour together with his refined and polished narrative style, this is a most delightful read.”

—Mary Ann Elliott, the


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