A Good House begins in 1949 in Stonebrook, Ontario, home to the Chambers family. The postwar boom and hope for the future color every facet of life: the possibilities seem limitless for Bill, his wife Sylvia, and their three children.
In the fifty years that follow, the possibilities narrow. 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.
This extraordinarily moving and beautifully crafted first novel was a number one bestseller in Canada where it won one of the country’s most prestigious literary awards, the Giller Prize, in 1999.
“[An] incandescent first novel.” —The New Yorker
“A Good House is a deep read. You keep finding more and more satisfaction in the unshowy craft, the unique vision of this writer who can tell you hard truths, hopefully.” —Alice Munro, author of The Love of a Good Woman
“The finest novel published in some years in our country. Its grace, its generosity, its humanity are present on each of its pages.” —Carol Shields, The Ottawa Citizen
“Burnard soon proves, in this increasingly intricate and rewarding book, to have a keen appreciation for the sad, surprising, joyous, important things that happen to people whose lives, by every demographic measure, could be called normal in the extreme... Burnard’s painstaking focus on seemingly mundane details makes the events that shape her characters’ lives not only believable but also somehow bigger than the moment, universally true.” —Louisa Kamps, The New York Times
“A deeply moving story of the truths of family life.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Wondrous...Burnard unrolls the tapestry of the narrative without ceremony or writerly pyrotechnics, in a deceptively simple style reminiscent of The Bird Artist by Howard Norman...all that life has to offer is served up effortlessly, with clarity, understanding and insight...a gem of a book.” —Valerie Ryan, The Seattle Times
“By subject and style, Burnard is in the territory of Jon Hassler and Annie Proulx, in the ranks of Alice Munro and Carol Shields.” —Robert Allen Papinchak, Chicago Tribune