A Good House

A Good House

Book - 1999
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A Good House is an extraordinary success story, with ten printings in the first six months of publication. This remarkable portrait that details the fabric of ordinary family life over three generations has captured the hearts of readers and criticsnot to mention award committeesall across the country.

Bill Chambers has come home from the Second World War with several fingers missing, but with his hope intact. He wants the best for his wife, Sylvia, and his children, Patrick, Paul and Daphne, and with his steady job at the hardware store in his small hometown, the future opens broadly before him.

A powerful tale of rites and rituals, A Good House is full of masterful details and memorable snapshots of the complex web that is family.Burnard’s keen powers of observation and her sensitivity to emotional nuance have created people we can all recognize and a story that is as moving as it is profound.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperPerennial Canada, 1999
ISBN: 9780006485261
Characteristics: 283 p. ; 24 cm


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Apr 01, 2015

I like the meandering style of this family story.

I was rather partial to the story gaps, where chapters would start 2-9 years later and you are left to catch up on what had happened and what was happening. I found it an enticing way to read a story.

The almost never judgmental love that is portrayed in the story is a nice change from the often dysfunctional families in so many books.

I also like how, for the most part, the entire story focuses on the people in the family. Not on the changing world around them or even how those changes are effecting them. It's just about family dynamics through 50 years of love, tragedy, marriage, divorce, death and children.

May 17, 2010

Winner of the 1999 Giller Prize.

This won the Giller Prize because it was different. Its entirely narrative style avoids sentimentality and never exceeds a calm flow as it describes the tragedies of being human. The same distance that gives this book its literary strength is also its greatest weakness: we are kept so far back from the characters that I want to shout out “Why?” across the gulf that separates us.

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