In the bestselling tradition of A Man Called Ove and the beloved film Love Actually comes a quirky, “winsome tale of an unexpected love triangle late in life” (Publishers Weekly) between a socially awkward man—as he goes on a quest to find his wife a last-minute Christmas gift—and the girl who got away.
Henry Quantum has several thoughts going through his head at any given time, so it’s no surprise when he forgets something very important—specifically, a Christmas gift for his wife, which he realizes two days before Christmas. Henry sets off in search of the perfect present for her: a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. But much like Henry’s ever-wandering mind, his quest takes him in different and unexpected directions, including running into the former love of his life, Daisy. His wife, meanwhile, unhappy in her marriage, is hiding a secret of her own. And Daisy, who has made the unsettling choice of leaving her husband to strike out on her own, finds herself questioning whether she and Henry belong together after all.
An “at times funny, at times profound” (Kirkus Reviews) debut from author Pepper Harding shows how the seemingly insignificant events of one single day can change our lives forever—perhaps, if we’re lucky, for the better.
Harding's debut novel is a winsome tale of an unexpected love triangle late in life. Set in San Francisco, the book's titular protagonist is an unhappily married 40-something advertising executive, a day-dreaming philosopher who wants to be a writer. When Henry Quantum sets out to buy a last-minute Christmas gift for his wife, Margaret, a high-powered real estate broker, he runs into a former lover, Daisy. Told from the points of view of Henry, Margaret, and Daisy, all on the same day, December 23, this story is about defining love when you're spiritually confused and full of self-deception. Henry walks through his day on "an almost pilgrimage," a "sainte terrer. That's right, a saunterer! A Holy Lander!" He seeks to experience life "in the moment in which it occurs." Perhaps Henry's voice is a bit too stream-of-consciousness, with some sections confirming Margaret's frequent complaint that his mind wandering can be annoying. Despite this, Henry is a fully formed, emotionally resonant character; Margaret, on the other hand, is one-dimensional: hard, assertive, and unfeeling. As the past is revealed to the reader and Henry must chose his future, the alternating viewpoints add velocity to this fun, fanciful story that will keep readers guessing until the end.