An automaton, a man and a woman who can never meet, a secret love story, and the fate of the warming world are all brought to incandescent life in this hauntingly moving novel from one of the most admired writers of our time.
London 2011. Catherine Gehrig, a museum conservator, learns of the death of her colleague and lover of thirteen years. As the mistress of a married man, she must keep her grief a secret. She is rescued by the only person who knew of this affair--her boss. It is he who arranges a project that demands she work in isolation. In deep mourning, she will bring back to "life" a nineteenth-century automaton. Usually controlled and rational, but now mad with sorrow, Catherine discovers a series of notebooks written by Henry Brandling, who, in 1854, commissioned the extraordinary, eerie mechanical creature. Henry's is a personal account of his adventures in the wilds of Germany, a diary that brings Catherine unexpected comfort and wonder. But it is the automaton itself, in its beautiful, uncanny imitation of life, that will link Henry and Catherine, as they are confronted with the mysteries of life and death, the miracle and catastrophe of human invention, and the body's astonishing chemistry of love and feeling.
PETER CAREY is the author of eleven 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.