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Good Faith


Good Faith Cover



Author Q & A

Q: What gave you the idea for Good Faith?
A: My boyfriend told me a story about some people he knew in the 1980s. His story meshed with thoughts I had already had about the failures of deregulation. I have always considered "James Watt" fighting words. In addition, I wanted to write another novel about what Barbara Ehrenreich used to call "the worst years of our lives."

Q: In reading Good Faith, one can't help but think about the recent events in Corporate America, Enron specifically. Was that on your mind as you wrote this novel?
A: I was almost finished with the novel when the Enron story broke, but as early as the California energy crisis of 2001, I was sure that there was some double dealing going on. Enron, the White House, and all of Bush's oil patch Republican friends seemed to be too cozy by half as far as I was concerned.

Q: Good Faith is full of details about house building, selling, development, Savings & Loans, etc. What kind of research went into this novel?
A: I read several books, including one called Fraud 101. I consulted my memory and the memories of lots of others. I have always been interested in houses and real estate.

Q: Many people think of the 1980s as a rather grim decade. Why did you want to tell this story against the backdrop of the 1980s, and do you think there are lessons we learned coming out of that time?
A: Actually, I think only intelligent people think of the 80s as a grim decade. I think too many people think of the 80s as lots of fun, or as a time when there was "a new dawn for America." I think of the 80s as the beginning of a tragic civic decline that resulted in the stolen election of 2000 and the national chaos and uneasiness that we have today. The 80s were when the government gave the corporations permission to do whatever they wanted, including not paying taxes, not following health and safety regulations, shamelessly exploiting the environment, not contributing in any way to the public good.

Q: This novel follows Horse Heaven. So, who do you like writing about more, animals or people?
A: Animals and animals with people.

Q: Good Faith picks up on some of the themes you wrote about in A Thousand Acres — land, money, greed, good intentions — on a very different landscape (Suburban New Jersey). What is it about land that can make people crazy?
A: The idea that it is limited, that all the good spots are almost taken.

Q: You last book was set in the world of horse racing. This book the world of real estate and investing. Both examine the idea of Risk and "Betting on a sure thing." So, do you think there is any such thing as a sure thing?
A: Change is a sure thing.

Q: So Jane, there are some very steamy sex scenes in Good Faith. I have to ask A) how the idea of sex fits in with the idea of risk and investment, and B)are these fun to write?
A: Sex fits in with everything.
B: These were, because I liked Felicity and Joey and I wanted them to have a good time.

Product Details

Anchor Books
Success in business
Smiley, Jane
Jane Smiley
Real estate agents
Divorced men
Fiction : General
Psychological fiction
General Fiction
Audio Books-Literature
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Good Faith
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 432 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9781400040650 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Admittedly, reading Good Faith requires a bit of the titular quality; you need to be willing to entertain the notion that a book in which the characters argue about interest rates and 'the shakeout of the banking system' can be entertaining. It can....As with most of Smiley's novels, the writing is fresh and breezy if not beautiful. And has she yet received the credit she's due for writing terrific sex scenes — earthy, profane, joyful and detailed, but never self-important? Good Faith is rich in them; sex matters a lot to Joe in an entirely believable way, but he doesn't need to get, well, hysterical about it....Good Faith is an inventive and generous investigation into the joys and perils of building something — a house, a trusted local business, a marriage, a community — and well worth the investment." (read the entire Salon review)
"Review" by , "Smiley's range as a writer is always surprising....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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Joe's sense of who he has become is oddly muffled, a quality that infects the novel as a whole — as if the author were unable to decide what, finally, her characters are guilty of, or how hard they deserve to fall."
"Review" by , "There may not be a thousand acres here, but it's still a major piece of literary property. Everything about Good Faith is in perfect move-in condition....It's a manageable size, with just a small collection of expertly drawn characters....Smiley has invested her best talent in this work, and you can buy it in good faith."
"Synopsis" by , Jane Smiley is the Pulitzer Prize winning
"Synopsis" by , Emerging from an ugly divorce in the early 1980s, real estate salesman Joe Stratford is reluctant to join his friend Marcus in a get-rich-quick scheme and wonders about the advances of a free-spirited married woman. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 100,000 first printing.
"Synopsis" by , 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.

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