9780385721059

Good Faith

Smiley, Jane

ISBN 10: 0385721056 / 0-385-72105-6
ISBN 13: 9780385721059
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
Greed. Envy. Sex. Property. In her subversively funny and genuinely moving new novel, Jane Smiley nails down several American obsessions with the expertise of a master carpenter.

Forthright, likable Joe Stratford is the kind of local businessman everybody trusts, for good reason. But it’s 1982, and even in Joe’s small town, values are in upheaval: not just property values, either. Enter Marcus Burns, a would-be master of the universe whose years with the IRS have taught him which rules are meant to be broken. Before long he and Joe are new best friends—and partners in an investment venture so complex that no one may ever understand it. Add to this Joe’s roller coaster affair with his mentor’s married daughter. The result is as suspenseful and entertaining as any of Jane Smiley’s fiction.


Review:
Opening a Jane Smiley novel is like slipping into a warm bath. Here are people we know, places where we grew up. But the comforting, unassuming tone of her work allows Smiley incredible latitude as a writer, and her books are full of surprises. Good Faith, a novel about greed and self-delusion set in the economic boom of the early 1980s, is no exception. Joe Stratford is an amiable, divorced real estate agent in an unspoiled small town called Rollins Hills. He takes it in stride when a married female friend pursues a love affair with him; he is more suspicious when a high-rolling newcomer named Marcus Burns begins to influence the business affairs of the men closest to Joe. Nevertheless, the promise of easy riches draws Joe into one of Burns's real estate development schemes, and then, ominously, into gold trading. The steps by which a nice guy can be lured into betraying his principles are delineated so sharply in Good Faith that you wonder how Joe cannot see them. Although he never quite manages to understand what has happened to him, he's granted a moment of grace at the close of the novel, a second chance that has nothing to do with money, ambition, or the tarnished American Dream. Since we live with the legacy of the self-serving 1980s, Smiley's novel seems as timely as if it were set in the present. Penetrating, readable fiction by one of our best writers and social critics. --Regina Marler

Review

Review:
"It is hard to imagine how Smiley could have made Good Faith better. Like a sturdy, well-planned house, it makes room for everybody, and it ought to last a long, long time.”
–Margaria Fichtner, Miami Herald

“Stolen intimacies, greed, corruption: There’s much in Good Faith that strikes a chord today…Smiley’s new novel is at heart a meditation on community and the way money can warp the social contract.”
–John Freeman, Time Out New York

“Jane Smiley has produced an irresistible novel of bad manners, a meditation on love and money that Jane Austen might have enjoyed, if she could have handled the sex.”
–Richard Lacayo, Time

“This is a typical Jane Smiley novel, not, of course, in its subject matter, but in its power to beguile and enthrall.”
–Paul Gray, New York Times Book Review

“A cautionary prequel just right for our times. And great fun, to boot.”
–Jane Ciabattari, Los Angeles Times

“[Smiley] is one of our most Dickensian novelists, her imagination is prodigious, her observations exact, and the wealth of fascinating people inside her head a national treasure.”
–Donald E. Westlake, Washington Post Book World

“[A] lusty, testosterone-pumped tale, which both revisits Smiley’s obsession with infidelity and underlines her remarkable ability to humanize an industry.”
–Daniel Jones, Elle

“Smiley has invested her best talent in this work, and you can buy it in good faith.”
–Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor

“She captures exactly the ‘80s zest for moneymaking, the sense that anything, fortuitously touched, can be made to glisten… In doing so, she reveals herself as one of the most traditional of novelists, one not afraid of making a point, or of ending a story with a well-found moral.”
–Paul Evans, Book

“Pulitzer Prize winner Smiley once again opens a convincing fictional window on an American subculture; this time around it’s financial speculation in the early 1980s…Schemes play out in a tragicomedy featuring a Dickensian mix of quirky characters chasing their versions of the American dream. Smiley’s amusing plot is charged with energy, her sense of time and place is on target, and her research into the ways and means of real estate development is seamlessly integrated…This absorbing book will appeal to a wide variety of readers.”
–Starr E. Smith, Library Journal

“Smiley’s range as a writer is always surprising. Eschewing both the tragic dimension of A Thousand Acres and the satiric glee of Moo, her 12th book is a clever and entertaining cautionary tale about America’s greedy decade of the 1980s…What makes the story beguiling is Smiley’s appreciation of the varieties and frailties of human nature. Every character here is fresh and fully dimensional, and anybody who lived through the ’80s will recognize them–and maybe themselves. Forecast: Only readers seeking the emotional wallop of A Thousand Acres will be disappointed by this lively tale, written with literary finesse. Booksellers can bet on a bestseller.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Brilliant and versatile…Smiley has never been more seductive than in this acutely entertaining novel of big-time greed coming to a small East Coast town in the high-rolling 1980s…Smiley is fascinated by obsession and all the jargon and arcane knowledge associated with risky pursuits, and she expertly reanimates the mad and venal, not to mention illegal and disastrous, financial finagling that drove the money-mad, coked-up eighties, providing a thrilling rear-view mirror look at that notoriously covetous time. But this expertly crafted and subtly suspenseful tale is also notable for its exuberant eroticism: Smiley’s sex scenes, and there are many, are truly ravishing.”
–Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred and boxed review)

“Smiley nails the Greed Decade with her trademark precision and philosophical bite. In 1982, narrator Joe Stratford is a divorced 40-year-old realtor in a part of New Jersey just beginning the transition from provincial backwater to upscale suburb…Marcus [Burns] is a con man, but Smiley expertly conveys his appeal to people quietly bored with their constricted lives…As Joe is drawn into [Marcus’s] scams, the author unsparingly but with considerable empathy depicts the complicity of a decent guy doing questionable things that give him an alluring sense of freedom and power…A novel that, like A Thousand Acres , acknowledges both the seductiveness of excess and the necessity of limits. Blunt and bold: the work of one of America’s best writers.”
Kirkus (starred review)

From the Back Cover

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Book Description: Random House Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 244 x 173 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Greed. Envy. Sex. Property. In her subversively funny and genuinely moving new novel, Jane Smiley nails down several American obsessions with the expertise of a master carpenter. Forthright, likable Joe Stratford is the kind of local businessman everybody trusts, for good reason. But it s 1982, and even in Joe s small town, values are in upheaval: not just property values, either. Enter Marcus Burns, a would-be master of the universe whose years with the IRS have taught him which rules are meant to be broken. Before long he and Joe are new best friends--and partners in an investment venture so complex that no one may ever understand it. Add to this Joe s roller coaster affair with his mentor s married daughter. The result is as suspenseful and entertaining as any of Jane Smiley s fiction. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9780385721059

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