What is this about?: This is the story of Henry, his wife and his former lover as they call come to terms with what and who they want. It’s quirky, much more so than I thought.
What else is this about?: All of the above, and not much more.
Blurb: Henry Quantum has several thoughts going through his head at any given time, so it’s no surprise when he forgets something very important — a Christmas gift for his wife, Margaret, which he realises on the morning of December 23rd.
So Henry sets off in search of the perfect present for Margaret: a bottle of Chanel No. 5.
But much like Henry’s ever-wandering mind, his quest takes him in different and unexpected directions, including running into the former love of his life, Daisy. Meanwhile, Margaret is questioning whether she and Henry belong together after all …
‘The Heart of Henry Quantum is a sweet, funny, and touching debut which shows how the seemingly insignificant events of one single day can change our lives forever — perhaps, if we’re lucky, for the better.
I didn’t know what to make of The Heart of Henry Quantum when I began reading it, and now that I’ve finished I’m not entirely sure either. Divided into three parts, it follows a day in the life of Henry, Margaret and Daisy as they go about their lives. Henry is married to Margaret, and had an affair with Daisy, who ended their relationship. Margaret is sneaking off for a day with her lover.
Henry’s part isn’t particularly easy to read – it’s a stream of consciousness prose, which is difficult to remain engaged with for a third of a book. It starts off quirkly enough, but soon it’s harder to slog through the errant thoughts he has. He meets Daisy while searching for a perfume for his wife, and is reminded of why he doesn’t love his wife anymore, and his relationship (and end of) with Daisy. She is the type of person who understands his neuroses and accepts it. His part reveals his first meeting with his wife, and their relationship after, which when you start reading Margaret’s part and see her POV, it’s possible these are the most unsuited people ever.
Margaret is ambitious, even though she might not have been that way when she met Henry, and the narrative flips them around from what they were when they first met to Henry in a job going nowhere, and Margaret in a job and marriage wanting more. Henry was a sense of security for her at a time when she needed it, and now Margaret realises she can have more.
Daisy is the one out of three who did what had to be done in her marriage – she ended it when she knew she couldn’t go on. She didn’t go through the motions, she saw what was wrong and changed things, which is the difference between the three. She’s a pleasant character, with the patience of a saint and the willingness to love Henry as he is.
The book is a character exploration I guess, as event during this day force these characters to revaluate their lives. I would give a higher rating had Henry’s POV been easier to read.