Synopses & Reviews
The acclaimed author of Vinegar Hill
returns with a story of two unlikely romances—one historical, the other modern-day—separated by thousands of miles and well over a century.
Battling feelings of loss and apathy in the wake of a painful divorce, novelist Jeanette struggles to complete a book about the long-term relationship between Clara Schumann, a celebrated pianist and the wife of the composer Robert Schumann, and her husband's protégé, the handsome young composer Johannes Brahms. Although this legendary love triangle has been studied exhaustively, Jeanette—herself a gifted pianist—wonders about the enduring nature of Clara and Johannes's lifelong attachment. Were they just "best friends," as both steadfastly claimed? Or was the relationship complicated by desires that may or may not have been consummated?
Through a chance encounter, Jeanette meets Hart, a mysterious, worldly entrepreneur who is a native of Clara's birthplace, Leipzig, Germany. Hart's casual help with translations quickly blossoms into something more. There are things about men and women, he insists, that do not change. The two embark on a whirlwind emotional journey that leads Jeanette across Germany and Switzerland to a crossroads similar to that faced by Clara Schumann—also a mother, also an artist—more than a century earlier.
Accompanied by photographs, sketches, and notes from past and present, A. Manette Ansay's original blend of fiction and history captures the timeless nature of love and friendship between women and men.
“A poignant and arresting duet of the historic and the contemporary. . . . Ansay sprinkles bits of letters, photographs and drawings throughout the novel, a deft touch that adds to the books evocative moods of past and present.” Miami Herald
“GOOD THINGS I WISH YOU leaves no variation unexplored, and its delicate melody lingers after the final page.” South Florida Sun Sentinel
“Ansays novel addresses the important question of what role art plays in life. . . . The photos convey a more intimate account of history, as if the reader were flipping through a personal scrapbook belonging to Claras or Roberts descendants.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Intriguingly accompanied by reproductions of Schumann-Brahms ephemera, Ansays inventive exploration of this eternal romantic conundrum is equally paradoxical in its execution. Spare yet sumptuous, precise yet lavish, Ansay nimbly sifts historical fact through an admittedly autobiographical filter to deliver a richly textured study.” Booklist
“A meditation on art and love in the European mode. . . . [Ansay] is a gifted and sure-handed storyteller.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“In this pleasure of a book, two love stories are entwined. . . . Photos, scraps from letters and diaries, make this book a fascination. The questions posed by Hart and Jeannette are timeless, as Ansay has them debate the true nature of the Clara-Johannes relationship.” Providence Journal-Bulletin
“Good Things I Wish You is a lyrical, haunting exploration of loves past and present. Witty, sprightly, surprising, this deeply original and utterly captivating new novel by A. Manette Ansay beguiles the senses and dazzles the heart. A beautiful book.” Diana Abu-Jaber
“Reminiscent of The French Lieutenants Woman, Good Things I Wish You employs a rich and daring metafictional spin on one of the great romances in history to investigate passion and loveand what doesnt change between women and men. Manette Ansay takes great risks to deliver great rewards.” Stewart O'Nan
“A lyrical, haunting exploration of loves past and present. Witty, sprightly, surprising, this deeply original and utterly captivating new novel … beguiles the senses and dazzles the heart. A beautiful book.” —Diana Abu-Jaber
“As the parallels between the two relationships multiply, the novel catches fire. . . . Ansay is a gifted and sure-handed storyteller.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
From the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Vinegar Hill and Midnight Champagne comes a beautifully written story of two summer romances—one of a brilliant pianist, one of a struggling novelist—separated in time by nearly two centuries. If you enjoy the novels of Ann Patchett (Bel Canto), Claire Messud (The Emperor's Children), and Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin), youll find much to love in A. Manette Ansays stunningly original Good Things I Wish You.
About the Author
A. Manette Ansay is the author of eight books, including Vinegar Hill, Midnight Champagne (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), and Blue Water. She has received the Pushcart Prize, two Great Lakes Book Awards, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches in the MFA writing program at the University of Miami.