Our Tiny, Useless Hearts by Toni Jordan

‘I can’t speak. I am literally speechless.’

So, let’s identify the main players. There’s Caroline, who is married to Henry. Henry is having an affair with Martha, the teacher of Martha and Caroline’s daughter Mercedes. And Henry, after he tells Caroline this, heads off to Noosa with Martha. Caroline heads after them, after first shredding Henry’s clothes.

Then there’s Caroline and Henry’s neighbours: Lesley and Craig. Caroline is having an affair with Craig.

Caroline’s sister Janice steps in to look after Mercedes and her sister Paris, Craig comes calling on Caroline and Janice’s ex-husband Alec comes to visit Mercedes … and things get really hectic from there.

I had so much fun with this book I read it twice. Seriously. I missed some good one-liners first time around, and Ms Jordan’s timing is just superb. The measure of great farce, surely? Yes, the story is way over the top and most of the characters are so shallow they’d drown in a rain drop.

And then there’s Craig:

‘When you step inside an airport, you cease to have any rights whatsoever. Legally, it’s a return to the feudal system. It’s like the Manga Carta never happened.’

And, just in case you’ve never heard of the Manga Carta, Janice helps out with:

‘The Manga Carta is, presumably, a document drafted in 1215 by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the form of a Japanese comic book.’

In the right mood, I enjoy books like this because they make me laugh. In the wrong mood, they could become missiles. It’s all in the timing.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

#AWW2018