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The Amateur Science of Love is Craig Sherborne s first novel At 21 years of age, Colin Butcher escapes the family farm and a lover s angry husband in New Zealand to pursue his acting dream in London His stalled career takes an abrupt turn when he meets the beautiful Tilda Robson older, artistic and exciting , and falls in love Together, they return to her Melbourne studio and are soon living her artist s dream a studio in a dilapidated old bank building in the small town of Scintilla, som The Amateur Science of Love is Craig Sherborne s first novel At 21 years of age, Colin Butcher escapes the family farm and a lover s angry husband in New Zealand to pursue his acting dream in London His stalled career takes an abrupt turn when he meets the beautiful Tilda Robson older, artistic and exciting , and falls in love Together, they return to her Melbourne studio and are soon living her artist s dream a studio in a dilapidated old bank building in the small town of Scintilla, some distance from Melbourne As they deal with life in an isolated small town and their own fluctuating passions, they also face the prospect of unexpected pregnancy, serious illness and eventually, infidelity Colin narrates the tale, secretly typing it in his nook above Tilda s art studio He comes across as self absorbed, immature and with an inflated opinion of his own self worth This delusion he maintains to the very end, a source of some humour The male point of view of the relationship is truly a revelation an insight into how a man thinks about sex, love, jealousy and marriage vows These unvarnished male thoughts, some quite shocking, are presented with candour and honesty Colin freely admits to having thoughts others might have but would be unlikely to divulge, like wishing for a miscarriage He justifies it by describing a miscarriage asnatural than abortion Colin s self preservation seems instinctive he holds onto the idea of returning to the family farm as his back up plan, should he decide to leave Tilda It would certainly be interesting to know what a male reader would make of this novel Is this a tale of two self absorbed people careening through lust, love, infidelity and jealousy Are they flawed people, a flawed couple, having an inevitably flawed relationship Whatever this is, the story, and the way it is told, draws the reader in There is some very black humour lots of excellent prose an unexpected pursuit in places it is hilarious Tilda burning Colin s new underwear in the bath some of the action is almost slapstick The ending is indefinite it leaves the reader wondering which path Colin will take A most enjoyable novel I feel it will be much discussed by book clubs Would like to give it 3.5 stars as it was a compelling and interesting read about two flawed people and their flawed relationship in which neither of them are fulfilled but they stay anyway A novel about choices, youth, entitlement and morality as well as love It s complicated and messy as life and love are I liked the writing but I didn t like the characters apart from Mr vigourman, he was hilarious I listened to an interview with Craig Sherborne about this book and about fictionalising y Would like to give it 3.5 stars as it was a compelling and interesting read about two flawed people and their flawed relationship in which neither of them are fulfilled but they stay anyway A novel about choices, youth, entitlement and morality as well as love It s complicated and messy as life and love are I liked the writing but I didn t like the characters apart from Mr vigourman, he was hilarious I listened to an interview with Craig Sherborne about this book and about fictionalising your own life which inspired me to read it in the first place and which i would recommend listening to before reading It places the book in a helpful context and hence I gotout of it than I otherwise would have Basically, if you ve read Sherborne s Monthly essay about the actual people on whom this autobiographical novel is based, you ve read the novel Most of this is padding, and the essay wasclear eyed about the author s agenda.At the moment I find Australian novels set in the bush to be quite unappealing, though I ve enjoyed them in the past I realise that this makes me a bad Australian reader I wouldn t have read this except it was a book club book I enjoyed the narrative conceit th Basically, if you ve read Sherborne s Monthly essay about the actual people on whom this autobiographical novel is based, you ve read the novel Most of this is padding, and the essay wasclear eyed about the author s agenda.At the moment I find Australian novels set in the bush to be quite unappealing, though I ve enjoyed them in the past I realise that this makes me a bad Australian reader I wouldn t have read this except it was a book club book I enjoyed the narrative conceit that the protagonist is writing the narrative as the events he narrates are unfolding, hiding his manuscript from the partner he so callously excoriates I liked the evocative descriptions of how panoptical and tribal a country town can be, and I can even appreciate the way the central couple Colin and Tilda co dependently taunt and punish one another It reminded me of a cross between Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolfand the final scene of Death Becomes Her, where two former mortal enemies are bound to an eternity of each other s company.But I found the prevailing tone of cringey self justification really unpleasant This might be an effect Sherborne deliberately wants to create the conjuring of an unpleasant, self justifying protagonist except he d already written about these events, and about the impossibility of forgiveness, in the context of memoir So I feel as if this is a craven character assassination of a dead woman who can t combat Sherborne s version of events This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Colin is a young New Zealander who heads to London to escape the boredom on his life with his family on a small farm He has grand plans to become an actor with RADA, but when he fails the audition, he works in a hostel where he meets Tilda, a woman 10 years his senior She is an Australian artist, on a tour of Europe to escape her failed marriage Colin and Tilda begin an affair and return to Australian where they settle in a small Wimmera town called Scintilla The relationship soon begins to Colin is a young New Zealander who heads to London to escape the boredom on his life with his family on a small farm He has grand plans to become an actor with RADA, but when he fails the audition, he works in a hostel where he meets Tilda, a woman 10 years his senior She is an Australian artist, on a tour of Europe to escape her failed marriage Colin and Tilda begin an affair and return to Australian where they settle in a small Wimmera town called Scintilla The relationship soon begins to founder as Colin, who is a selfish child, only wants what he can get from the relationship When Tilda becomes pregnant, she has an abortion, then contracts cancer and has a breast removed Although Colin stays with Tilda, and even marries her, he is so self centred and shallow that he becomes increasingly cruel to her.This is a well written novel, but with such a hateful character at the centre, that it is really unpleasant to read A nightmare view of married life with a truely horrible character ( READ EBOOK ) ⚔ The Amateur Science of Love ♱ Colin dreams of escaping his parents New Zealand farm for a grand stage career He makes it to London and a disastrous audition before meeting Tilda beautiful Tilda, older, an artist who brings his future with her A heady romance leads to a new home in a decaying former bank in a small town hours from Melbourne They are building a life together but there are cracks in the foundationThis is a love story, told from passionate beginning to spectacular end It is intimate and honest, blackly funny and emotionally devastating So there I was, reading in a rather desultory way enjoying the writing enough to post a Sensational Snippet but just starting to wonder if the narrator s bleakly comic navel gazing was going anywhere, when wham I was riveted by the plot At half past three in the morning I finally fell asleep last night with the book drifting onto the pillow, and grabbed it again with a coffee to keep me awake when the alarm went off at 6 00am this morning.No, I m not going to spoil it for you either G So there I was, reading in a rather desultory way enjoying the writing enough to post a Sensational Snippet but just starting to wonder if the narrator s bleakly comic navel gazing was going anywhere, when wham I was riveted by the plot At half past three in the morning I finally fell asleep last night with the book drifting onto the pillow, and grabbed it again with a coffee to keep me awake when the alarm went off at 6 00am this morning.No, I m not going to spoil it for you either Go and get a copy, and see why Helen Garner wrote this for the front cover All women with lingering illusions about the way men think should read this fast moving, sharply focused, fantasy shattering little thunderclap of a book Gentlemen, you should read it too, because now we know what you re thinking PS It is very good about small town rural life as well Fab writing, fab premise Such a great nuanced and interesting take on the complexity of modern relationships. Craig Sherborne is best known for his wonderfully vivid memoirs of childhood and adolescence, Hoi Polloi and Muck variously praised by the likes of Clive James, J.M Coetzee and Hilary Mantel So the reader comes to his first foray into fiction with high expectations.Readers of The Monthly or Best Australian Essays will quickly realise that this is also a continuation of sorts of Sherborne s autobiographical project Many of the details here of a young man who falls in mad love with an older Craig Sherborne is best known for his wonderfully vivid memoirs of childhood and adolescence, Hoi Polloi and Muck variously praised by the likes of Clive James, J.M Coetzee and Hilary Mantel So the reader comes to his first foray into fiction with high expectations.Readers of The Monthly or Best Australian Essays will quickly realise that this is also a continuation of sorts of Sherborne s autobiographical project Many of the details here of a young man who falls in mad love with an older woman in London and moves with her to regional Victoria, where they marry and live out an intense, claustrophobic relationship that ends badly mirror those of Sherborne s frankly stunning memoir essay, Unforgiven So, it s unsurprising that the voice of this narrator, Colin, will be familiar to Sherborne fans alternately knowing and naive painfully sensitive and horrifyingly blunt capable of deep affection and callous indifference It s a remarkably nuanced, honest and engrossing portrait of a relationship, and of what happens when love the sickness is translated into the rhythms of everyday life.This review was first published in The Big Issue in 2011 So many feelings.Please don t be fooled by the title although in hindsight it appears quite fitting A love story, realist, and true to life set in small town Australia Van Gogh dreaming, wheatfields, grief, what it means to love, to be human, to be flawed at best This novel warmed my heart up, almost too warm, and then fire, ashes, and let s stomp on the ashes while we re there.Sherborne is a poet and this is a richly worded piece of art, quick and light but at the same time heavy as the mo So many feelings.Please don t be fooled by the title although in hindsight it appears quite fitting A love story, realist, and true to life set in small town Australia Van Gogh dreaming, wheatfields, grief, what it means to love, to be human, to be flawed at best This novel warmed my heart up, almost too warm, and then fire, ashes, and let s stomp on the ashes while we re there.Sherborne is a poet and this is a richly worded piece of art, quick and light but at the same time heavy as the moon on the blackest of nights Sherborne is a poet and so many of his sentences in this novel sing I loved the emotional honesty, the lack of political correctness, the darkness of this love story set in rural Australia But I must say, like with many other Australian novels I read, after I finished this book I felt desperate for some intellectual stimulation, for some depth So I went to look for some European literature.