Let’s spoil this early: if I’d ever managed to put together a ten-best books of last decade list, this novel would have been on it. It’s just that good. I’ve read it several times, and every time, it devastates me in the best possible way. It is one of my very favorite novels.

Earls is Australian, and this was published several years ago–2002, so far as I can see by Amazon, but that may just be the American publication. I’m not sure.

I read this back when . . . what are we calling this sort of lit now? Used to be, when this sort of book was written by women about women for women, it was often called “chick lit,” a term I’m pretty sure I still see with somewhat regular frequency but am also pretty sure has fallen well out of fashion. When this sort of book was written by men about men for–men? . . . there I’ve heard it called several things, including but not limited to “dick lit” and “lad lit.”

Basically, if you think of Rob Gordon and John Cusack in High Fidelity (which might have been another book on that ten best list, except it might have been out before 2000), you get some idea of the sort of book this is.

Except it’s not.

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