Standard Deviation: A novel
Over a decade ago, Graham Daltry left his wife, Elspeth, for a vivacious woman named Audra, to whom he is now happily married. Graham spends his days cringing over Audra’s intimate conversations with strangers and worrying about his special-needs son, Matthew, whose Asperger’s terrifies Graham as he tries to imagine Matthew’s future. When Matthew asks to join an origami club, the entire family finds themselves in a new realm of unlikely friends and surprising independence. Around the same time, Elspeth contacts Graham regarding an aunt’s strange bequest, and Audra decides to pursue a friendship with Elspeth and her boyfriend, Bentrup–dragging Graham into social interactions that evolve from painfully awkward to surprisingly sweet.
Through Matthew’s tenure in the origami club, Audra’s many houseguests, and the non-traditional new friendship with Elspeth, Audra talks–and talks and talks. Her constant commentary is the heart and soul of the novel, laugh-out-loud funny as well as earnest and well intentioned. Heiny navigates her characters through one fraught social encounter after another, an apt reflection of their family life, where love is everywhere but is rarely easy. For Graham, the heartbreak that accompanies a full life has always been bearable–until his own child is the one not chosen, the one left behind.