Regular price: £14.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

A rueful, funny examination of love, marriage, infidelity and origami. Simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, this sensational debut will appeal to fans of David Nicholls, Nick Hornby, Nora Ephron and Lorrie Moore.

Graham Cavanaugh's second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself privileged to live in the age of the hair towel; talks nonstop through her epidural, labour and delivery; invites the doorman to move in and the eccentric members of their son's Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is charming and spontaneous and fun, but life with her can be exhausting.

In the midst of the day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a child with Asperger's, his first wife, Elspeth, reenters Graham's life. Former spouses are hard to categorize - are they friends, enemies, old flames or just people who know you really, really well? Graham starts to wonder: how can anyone love two such different women? Did he make the right choice? Is there a right choice?

©2017 Katherine Heiny (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Audra Daltry is a singular creation - a character so funny, so appealing, so sure that she can change the world for her family that she will jump right off the page and take up permanent residence in your heart. Standard Deviation is a marvel." (Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life)
"A book so funny and perceptive I want to be friends with its author." (Laline Paull, author of The Bees)
"I have been a fan of Katherine Heiny's writing for years but my adoration of her reaches a new apex with this, her first novel, Standard Deviation. It's an irresistibly charming novel about age-old institutions: marriage and parenting. But Heiny's brilliantly drawn characters and her keen insights make both topics feel brand new. A delightful, refreshing novel that illuminates the world of complicated relationships." (Elin Hilderbrand, author of Here's to Us)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    22
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    17
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kaggy
  • United Kingdom
  • 20-06-17

Achingly funny, sad and heartwarming

If you are looking for a book that with make you smile, laugh out loud and occasionally make your heart ache, then you will adore this. This is about Graham and Audra, a middle aged married couple bringing up their son who had Asperger’s syndrome in a New York apartment. Graham is quiet and reflective whereas Audra is an outgoing woman who for whom red lights don’t exist and often behaves outrageously mostly to Graham’s chagrin. In the background is Graham’s ex-wife, Elspeth a woman much closer to Graham’s personality and during the course of the story he reflects on whether he did the right thing in leaving Elspeth for Audra.
This is a story about guilt, infidelity, love and eccentricity and it revolves around tricky situations, mostly created by Audra, which Graham has to navigate as time goes by. I loved both Graham and Audra, despite the fact they were occasionally selfish and heartless, sometimes in surprising and shocking ways. There is a fantastic cast of characters, ranging from Mathew the son, the various people Audra invites to stay at the apartment, the origami club, the parents of Matthew’s friends and of course Elspeth herself, all taking us on a journey that I wanted to go on forever.
I was wondering whether I wanted to read this or listen to the Audible version and I am very glad I chose the latter as it was superbly narrated.
This gets a 100% A++++ recommendation from me and I know I will go back to it again and again.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fun and sadness - chalk and cheese

Unusually I chose this book in a hurry without knowing anything about the writer. I loved it. The characters are so well drawn they stay with you. There is a great current of understated humour which made me laugh often on my way through the book. There is delight, disappointment, sadness and optimism. Read it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

This is supposed to be a comedy? Full of doom gloom and totally unrelatable characters. I struggled through to Chapter 5 and couldn't take any more.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hilarious

I loved this book! Fascinating and funny characters. Well written and I loved the detail that was just enough to be really descriptive but the story kept moving. I loved the audible recording too, beautifully read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Prof
  • lancs
  • 12-03-18

Looking at the inner life

Thoroughly enjoyed this novel. This isn’t a book about plot so much as characters. Audra is a simply wonderful creation stealing many of the best lines and I was desperate for her to leap off the pages and invite me to dinner with Graham. The book plays the inner life of a marriage, in all its mundanity and half retreats for different corners turned. The son, Matthew has Aspergers (feeling like it’s de rigeur in modern novels - and I say that as such a father) - but doesn’t quite come alive for me. But that’s perhaps the only slight misstep. This is a witty humorous novel that I simply lapped up. The narration is exquisite because I felt Audra was right there with me, wonderful. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ula
  • Lonodn
  • 04-07-17

Funny and heartwarming

not my usual choice but I really liked it. funny and refreshing. has got an old school charm about it although this is a recent book. The narrator did a good job as well.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The End

Great characters but the end was very confusing, it didn't go anywhere. Loved no filter Audra

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-06-18

Loved the Narrator

For me this book started off well but but the 4th Chapter it became a whole lot of the same story line for the next 5 chapters. I did appreciate the reflections on parenthood but constantly wondering who is cheating on who annoyed me. ONLY reason I finished the book was because I really enjoyed the narrator.