Our Tiny, Useless Hearts

Toni Jordan

Our Tiny, Useless Hearts
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Our Tiny, Useless Hearts

Toni Jordan

Henry has ended his marriage to Caroline and headed off to Noosa with Mercedes' grade three teacher, Martha.

Caroline, having shredded a wardrobe-full of Henry’s suits, has gone after them.

Craig and Lesley have dropped over briefly from next door to catch up on the fallout from Henry and Caroline’s all-night row.

And Janice, Caroline’s sister, is staying for the weekend to look after the girls because Janice is the sensible one. A microbiologist with a job she loves, a fervent belief in the beauty of the scientific method and a determination to make a solo life after her divorce from Alec.

Then Craig returns through the bedroom window expecting a tryst with Caroline and finds Janice in her bed, Lesley storms in with a jealous heart and a mouthful of threats, Henry, Caroline and Martha arrive back from the airport in separate taxis-and let’s not even get started on Brayden the pizza guy.

Janice can cope with all that. But when Alec knocks on the door things suddenly get complicated.

Harnessing the exquisite timing of the great comedies to the narrative power and emotional intelligence for which she is famous, Toni Jordan brings all her wit, wisdom and flair to this brilliant, hilarious novel.


Toni Jordan’s latest novel, Our Tiny, Useless Hearts, is a romp through the contemporary complexities of living well. Very quickly, Jordan introduces us to a cast of wonderfully flawed characters all trying desperately to live honestly and without regret. Narratively driven, reading this crafty, clever and comical novel is not unlike eavesdropping on your crazy neighbours.

There are fraught marriages, mistaken identities, affairs, jealousies and broken hearts. There are laugh-out-loud moments, naked men, double lives and candid kids. Simply put: Jordan is using this novel to tease us. She is showing us a domestic mess and the riotous consequences of remaining a desperate romantic. She is taking our guile, passions and hopes for a never ending love and she is giving us a reality shot in the kindest way possible: through laughter.

Take a little of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, mix well with Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, then set characters in one home, say in Carnegie, and you may begin to understand the wit in this delicious classic farce. However, despite all her taunts, Jordan’s novel is a gleefully optimistic portrayal of modern love. It is not a spoiler to say that there is a happy resolution. Our Tiny, Useless Hearts is the perfect weekend read for when you need to sidestep your own reality.

Chris Gordon is the Events Manager for Readings.

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