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A GOOD HOUSE.

Burnard, Bonnie.

ISBN 10: 0805064958 / ISBN 13: 9780805064957
Published by New York: Henry Holt, (2000.) dj, 2000
Hardcover
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About this Item

SIGNED hardcover first edition - First US printing. The author's first novel (preceded by two collections of short stories), winner of the 1999 Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award. Begins in Ontario in 1949 during the height of the post-war boo, a year filled with promise, and follows a single family over the next fifty years. 307 pp. Dustjacket praise from Alice Munro (to whom Burnard has been compared), Carol Shields and Elizabeth Strout. SIGNED by the author on title page. Fine in fine dust jacket (a new copy.). Bookseller Inventory # 31009

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A GOOD HOUSE.

Publisher: New York: Henry Holt, (2000.) dj

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

A runaway #1 bestseller in Canada, this richly layered first novel tells the story of the intricacies and rituals that shape a family's life over three generations

A Good House begins in 1949 in Stonebrook, Ontario, home to the Chambers family. The postwar boom and hope for the future colors every facet of life: possibilities seem limitless for Bill, his wife, Sylvia, and their three children.

In the fifty years that follow, the possibilities narrow into lives, etched by character, fate, and circumstance. Sylvia's untimely death marks her family indelibly but in ways only time will reveal. Paul's perfect marriage yields an imperfect child. Daphne unabashedly follows an unconventional path, while Patrick discovers that his happiness requires a series of compromises. Bill confronts the onset of old age less gracefully than anticipated, and throughout, his second wife, Margaret, remains, surprisingly, the family anchor.
With her remarkable ability to probe the hidden, often disturbing landscapes of love and to illuminate the complexities of human experience, Bonnie Burnard brings to her deceptively simple narrative a clarity that is both moving and profound.

Review:

It's not an easy thing to write a novel about a family. Of necessity--and as the narrative years advance--characters proliferate, success and tragedy accrue, events maneuver to the fore with faintly arbitrary impetus. First-time novelist Bonnie Burnard, however, evades such worn grooves with the purest renunciation: a patient and lovely voice. In A Good House, awarded Canada's Giller Prize in 1999, Burnard documents an Ontario family over half a century with unadorned, deliberate, and tender sympathy.

Flush with post-World War II optimism, veteran Bill Chambers and his wife Sylvia settle in to the business of raising their three young children. Bill logs full days at the local hardware store; Sylvia strings the family's clothes out to dry in the backyard and proffers dinner punctually. Her wasting health, however, leaves her husband yearning for a contentment now stolen and her children disquieted by the sudden tenuousness of their security. When Sylvia dies and Bill remarries, his staunch and pragmatic bride Margaret displays a three-fold capacity: she allows him his sluggish and methodical affection; she preserves Sylvia's memory with untainted regard; and she cultivates a deft empathy with her stepchildren.

Burnard's meticulous pacing nearly, but never quite, upstages the story itself, although her unwieldy and expanding cast of characters occasionally threatens such harm. Margaret is the real wonder of the book. While the requisite affairs, divorces, and funerals intervene--and as Bill declines excruciatingly into a belligerent stranger--she summons a reserve of affection, the source of which is admirably opaque. She perseveres in "hoping as mothers and fathers almost always do that the difficulties could be examined, could be broken apart and fixed one by one by one." Burnard's tale is dignified and generous. --Ben Guterson

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