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Download The Chemistry of Tears Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Chemistry of Tears Audiobook, by Peter Carey Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,452 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Peter Carey Narrator: Susan Lyons, Jefferson Mays Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9781464038402
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Critics have used every possible superlative to praise the works of Peter Carey, two-time Man Booker Prize winner. In The Chemistry of Tears, Carey continues to astound with a story of love, death, and human invention. Two stories of love are brought to incandescent life in this hauntingly moving novel.

London 2010. Catherine Gehrig, conservator at the Swinburne museum, learns of the sudden death of her colleague and lover of thirteen years. As the mistress of a married man, she must struggle to keep the depth of her anguish to herself. The one other person who knows Catherine’s secret—her boss—arranges for her to be given a special project away from prying eyes in the museum’s Annex. Usually controlled and rational but now mad with grief, Catherine reluctantly unpacks an extraordinary, eerie automaton that she has been charged with bringing back to life.

As she begins to piece together the clockwork puzzle, she also uncovers a series of notebooks written by the mechanical creature’s original owner: a nineteenth-century Englishman, Henry Brandling, who traveled to Germany to commission it as a magical amusement for his consumptive son. But it is Catherine, nearly two hundred years later, who will find comfort and wonder in Henry’s story. And it is the automaton, in its beautiful, uncanny imitation of life, that will link two strangers confronted with the mysteries of creation, the miracle and catastrophe of human invention, and the body’s astonishing chemistry of love and feeling
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Quotes & Awards

  • “Few writers manage so consistently and delightfully as Peter Carey to conjure wondrous scenes populated with idiosyncratic yet credible characters. The Chemistry of Tears does not disappoint…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…A wholly enjoyable journey.” 

    Economist (UK)

  • “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.” 

    Independent (UK)

  • “A powerful novel on the frailty of the human body and the emotional life we imbue in machines…Catherine and Henry, linked both by the automaton and by grief, ponder questions of life and death, questions that, as posed by Carey, are more fascinating than any solution.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review, Pick of the Week)

  • Man Booker Prize
  • Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
  • Miles Franklin Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gretchen | 2/20/2014

    " This novel is about Catherine Gehrig who works at a museum in London and is responsible for restoring clocks and other automaton pieces. At the start of the book, she learns her lover of 13 yeas, Matthew, has died. This sends her into a tailspin of tears, emotional outbursts, irrational behavior and more. Her boss at the musuem (and a friend of Matthew's) gives her the task of repairing and restoring an automaton from the 1850s. Along with the automaton are several diaries written by the man who commissioned the piece, Henry Brandling. Catherine's story and Henry's story are told in alternating chapters. While I generally liked Catherine's character, her misery and her wallowing in it wore a bit thin. At the end of the book, I had expected more to have had happened. I felt it ended seemingly a bit unfinished. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dianne Lange | 2/11/2014

    " Tedious. The intertwining tales become too convoluted and unbelievable to be interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Morgana | 1/30/2014

    " Marvelously clever, moving and thought-provoking. So much to think about between the dual narratives of Catherine, the grieving, prickly 21st century horologist charged with restoration of a 19th century mechanical swan, and Henry, the patron who originally travelled to the Black Forest to commission the swan in the hope the joy it would cause would cure his frail young son. The relationship between the two main characters underscores beautifully the ellipses inherent in any attempt to understand the past. Really rich exploration of the relationship between people and machines, too. I want to go on thinking about this one for a long time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Riet | 1/19/2014

    " Dit is het eerste boek van Peter Carey waar ik een beetje mijn twijfels over heb. Het is prachtig geschreven en wel zo interessant, dat je het achter elkaar uitleest. Maar dan komt de vraag: wat wil hij eigenlijk met dit verhaal? Een vrouw, die haar minnaar verliest wordt "getroost" met een speciale opdracht van het museum waar zij werkt. Het in elkaar zetten van een automaton, gemaakt in de 19de eeuw. Daardoorheen loopt het verhaal van de opdrachtgever voor dit automaton. Om en om vertellen beide hoofdpersonen hun verhaal. Soms wat erg larmoyant (vandaar ook de tranen uit de titel, denk ik)en soms is het ineens weer een spannend verhaal. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry Mulholland | 1/12/2014

    " I liked the writing style with the Poeish tale interwoven with a museum setting and a heavy drinking female protagonist. Also the ideas raised and the ambiguities. I liked the eerie swan and the link to obsession with mechanics. Oil spills and our cars. Unusual and fresh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 1/8/2014

    " Interesting story and compelling characters, but the writing style gets a bit corny at times. And then the end requires a grand cognitive leap, which I wasn't quite willing to give the author. It was entertaining enough that I won't hold too much of a grudge, but it seemed like he just quickly wanted to be done. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Petra | 1/6/2014

    " couldn't be bothered finishing it, two books quashed weirdly and incongruously into one .. disappointing "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 H | 12/31/2013

    " I enjoyed the two worlds and times that meet in this book and the artistry of the characters' lives intersecting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Diane | 12/25/2013

    " I wanted to like this book. The overlay of present and past was enticing, the concept was beautiful... but it really bogged down and got so muddled that each character's thread wasn't strong enough to pull me through it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robyn | 12/10/2013

    " A distraught woman finds intrigue and solace by restoring an automaton; a bit difficult to follow as the narrative slips between two times and places. Well written, complex, but took me all summer to read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Selene | 12/7/2013

    " Hmmmm... Managed to get through it even though I had NO idea what was happening half the time!!! Disappointing "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Baz | 10/22/2013

    " Not my favourite Peter Carey... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca Schmidt Castka | 10/14/2013

    " Dullest female character I've ever read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kerry | 9/18/2013

    " Not my cup of tea. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzette | 8/19/2013

    " Not as good as other Carey books, but the characters are always interesting and his prose is always great. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 8/14/2013

    " Disappointing. I really wanted to like this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annette | 8/8/2013

    " Excellent writing, intriguing story, characters that come alive but slightly empty and the ending is a bit odd. I should give it 3 stars but it's Peter Carey so it gets 4. It is still worth reading and enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tick | 5/9/2013

    " interesting as an idea,but generally a bit tiring, mainly because of its gloomy atmosphere. perhaps the time wasn't right. reading wasn't always very easy, though the writer definitely knows how to use language. cleverly written, I'd like to try it again some time. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Suzanne Clarke | 4/13/2013

    " Awful, didnt flow, all over the place with characters, locations and story. No cohesiveness. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kimberly | 1/19/2013

    " Pretentious tosh. "

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About the Author
Author Peter Carey

Peter Carey is the author of ten previous novels and has twice received the Booker Prize. His other honors include the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Born in Australia, he has lived in New York City for twenty years.

About the Narrators

Susan Lyons has appeared on numerous television shows, including A Country Practice, Police Rescue, Something in the Air, and All Saints. Among her film credits are Winds of Jarrah and In a Savage Land. She is married to Tony Award–winning actor Jefferson Mays.

Jefferson Mays has won two AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audio narrations. He is also an award-winning theater and film actor. In 2004 he won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Obie Award, and a Theatre World Award for his solo Broadway performance in I Am My Own Wife, a Pulitzer Prize–winning play by Doug Wright. He holds a BA from Yale College and an MFA from University of California–San Diego.