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A Good Houseby Bonnie Burnard
Winner of the 1999 Giller Prize
Synopses & Reviews
A Good House begins in 1949 in Stonebrook, Ontario, home to the Chamers 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, surprisingly remains the family anchor.
Carol Shields, inThe Ottawa Citizen, described A Good House as "the finest novel published in some years in our country."
"It's as though Thornton Wilder's Our Town has been turned into a quiet, unassuming novel....Not much happens to the Chamberses in the nearly fifty years that the novel spans. And yet, of course, everything happens to them. 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
"A Good House received the 1999 Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award (previous winners include Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood), and it's easy to see why....At once ambitious and wonderfully understated...The language is as plain — as elemental, if you will — as the people she so lovingly, and exactingly, describes. Taken together, these accumulated details work to create the illusion of life itself." Sanford Pinsker, The Washington Post Book World
"A Good House is at least a 'three hankie read,' and it earns every one of them....A good house? No, a great house, and a fabulous book. Bravo." Mindy Werner, News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina)
"Absorbing...Burnard is an inviting writer with a remarkable eye for detail, and so much of what she has to say about family and neighborly love is authentic and important." Gabriella Stern, The Wall Street Journal
"A true book, one to be treasured and shared with a sister, father, or best friend." Jackie Pray, USA Today
"[An] incandescent first novel." The New Yorker
A runaway 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" won the 1999 Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award.
First-time novelist Bonnie Burnard, pens "A Good House", awarded Canada's Giller Prize in 1999, where she documents an Ontario family over half a century with unadorned, deliberate, and tender sympathy.
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. Sylvias untimely death marks her family indelibly but in ways only time will reveal. Pauls 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 countrys most prestigious literary awards, the Giller Prize, in 1999.
About the Author
A resident of London, Ontario, Bonnie Burnard is the author of two award-winning story collections. A Good House is her first novel. A number-one bestseller in Canada, it received the 1999 Giller Prize, on of Canada's most prestigious literary awards; previous winners include Alice Munro and Maragret Atwood.
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