unnatural, for example, for a man to lose his temper occasionally and bruise his pretty, cultivated wife. The characters, both child and adult, are lively and brilliantly observed – we know people and groups just like this – but the book’s biggest triumph is its structure.
Beginning with the drama of the trivia night, it then goes back six months to the new kindergarten intake and the catalyst of a newly arrived family, a single mother and her son. Each section brings us nearer to the trivia-night climax, and each is critiqued by that shifting chorus of players whose brief comments – waspish, whiny, brittle, compassionate, gleeful, self-righteous, malicious, detached – progressively flesh out the deliciously nuanced cast of a gripping, entertaining and thought-provoking drama.
The world has been eagerly awaiting the sequel to TheRosieProject – the wonderfully idiosyncratic 2013 novel that did become an Australian and international publishing phenomenon. Graeme Simsion’s tale of the Aspergerish geneticist whose methodical search for a wife was hijacked by love garnered ecstatic plaudits from readers as various as Microsoft’s Bill Gates and chicklit pioneer Marian Keyes.
Don Tillman now has an academic post in New York and new topics for personal research: the stages of pregnancy, fatherhood and how to keep his 10-month marriage intact. The novel slows and loses direction in the middle and conflicted Rosie seems to have taken on some of Don’s emotionally stunted characteristics (one wonders, in fact, whether an author who is adept at portraying one of the further ends of the psychological spectrum is quite as comfortable with its more common middle reaches) but Don himself, pedantically singlefocused as ever, is increasingly charismatic and the left-field resolution of his problems is as satisfyingly credible as it is delightfully unexpected. Meet Graeme Simsion at Matilda Bookshop, Stirling, on October 23 at 7pm. Book at trybooking.com/104762