Since her last love story, Grace is a single 35 years old woman. She is not able to work or to drive. She is troubled by an obssesive-compulsive disorder : she counts all she sees, all her actions. She counts the number of letters in every name of people she meets. She counts the number of hairs in every bundle of her toothbrush. She counts the number of steps which she makes to go from a place to the other one. She tries to put everything in multiple of 10. So in her supermarket, she buys quantities which amaze.
One day, it’s the panic in cashdesk. By taking out her purchases of her supermarket trolley, she realizes that she has only 9 bananas, while she had obviously taken 10. Grace has the resource, because she arranges to spirit away the one which will complete about 10 in the supermarket trolley of the customer at once behind her.
This one made the man who saw nothing. But he comes to ask her for an explanation the exit. What explanation could Grace give ? Nevertheless, the man is interested in her. He invites her even to eat in a restaurant. Grace accepts, but then she hesitates a lot. It’s necessary to say that she thinks of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) the scientist of whom she contemplates regularly the portrait she possesses. Tesla worked on the electricity and on the magnetism (his name is used to mesures of magnetic inductions). His « best friend » was Westinghouse, the man who elaborated the first electric chair. Both men missed cruelly necessary financial means to bring to a successful conclusion the experiments they had in mind.
Finally, Grace eats in private with Seamus O’Reilly. He works in a cinema and he’s under the spell of Grace. Seamus takes back Grace, and … they have sex straight from the stone floor of the kitchen. Grace and Seamus are in love.
Seamus asks obviously questions to Grace. Why doesn’t she work, for example ? Why does she buy so much toothbrush ? Grace eventually admits her mania to count. Lover, Graces promises to Seamus to try what she can to look after itself. She visits a psychotherapist. She will go to sessions of groups…
Grace also has a family life. Her mother calls her every Sunday at the same moment … to annoy her with a litany of commonlesses. Half an hour later, it’s Grace''s sister who asks mechanically about her health. So, everybody finds logical Grace’s small rhythmical life. Except Seamus who encourages her to make efforts. How can all this evolve ?
The first novel of Toni Jordan (Australia) is surprising and very pleasant to read. Grace is except standards. She has her world and her marks. Moreover, she has slides which are of use to her to measure everything. Grace observes many things. It’s often improper and hilarious. There was only her young niece Hilary to estimate the company. Seamus’s presence upsets this kind organization. But, what is the most important ? To be in the standard either to go at the end of its envy and of its whims ? Did it more boring there than in being in the standard ? The novel answers in a surprising way the question. Seamus (a pleasant man) represents a sort of standard … Grace is unable to conform to the standard. The laws of the physics say that opposite incur. This novel is a good illustration, full of whim.
William Morrow Editor (New York)