Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Heart of Henry Quantum

The Heart of Henry Quantum by Pepper Harding
Gallery Books: 10/4/16
eBook review copy; 288 pages
ISBN-13: 9781501126802

The Heart of Henry Quantum by Pepper Harding is a so-so tale of a love quadrilateral.

It is December 23 and Henry Quantum, aka Bones, needs to find a Christmas gift for Margaret, his wife of 15 years. His plan is to purchase a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Henry is very easily distracted by everything and his inner monologue often sends him off in different directions or has him missing his goal. When he leaves the office after a meeting in search of the perfume, he runs into an old flame, Daisy, who he had an affair with years earlier. Daisy is now divorced and misses Bones. In the meantime Margaret has taken the day off to spend it with her lover, Peter.

The book is set during one day, December 23, and told from the points of view of Henry, Margaret, and Daisy. While there are parts, bits and pieces, of this novel that are charming, and the setting is realistic and brilliantly described, mostly I found The Heart of Henry Quantum annoying and tedious. I began to dislike Henry only after a few pages. Sometimes following the stream-of-consciousness-inner-dialogue of a character can work, but, alas, not in this case. even if some of his inner thoughts were amusing, I ended up thinking that Henry needed some therapy to learn some good focusing skills in order to get from point A to B in one smooth line. Recording all his internal musing over a wide variety of things went too far.

When the focus switched to Margaret's point of view, I found her an even a more irritating character. Her lover, Peter, is even worse, but his appearance is brief. I had to agree with Margaret, however, that the ever-on-going wandering of Henry's thoughts was aggravating. Then we get to Daisy, the only even remotely likeable character in this whole mess. But, as all these people are/were married and having affairs, they sort of set themselves up for me to lose a vast amount of respect for them right at the start. I might have been able to roll with it if I liked Henry and wished him well. 

So, in the end the writing is good, if you can stomach all the stream-of consciousness from Henry. The plot is simple, a day in the life of these people. The characters, well, they are not very appealing. The only thing that pulled the rating up a bit for me was the ending, which I thought was a nice touch.

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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