A Good House


Paperback | July 24, 2000

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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 critics—not to mention award committees—all 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.

About The Author

  Bonnie Burnard is a past winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Best First Book Award for her first collection of short stories, Women of Influence. Her second collection, Casino & Other Stories, was nominated for a Giller Prize and was awarded the Saskatchewan Best Book of the Year Award. She was also the recipient of the 1995 M...



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Details & Specs

Title:A Good HouseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.75 inPublished:July 24, 2000Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:000648526X

ISBN - 13:9780006485261

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Customer Reviews of A Good House


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From Our Editors

Covering a 50-year span, this novel follows a southern Ontario family through the last half of the 20th century. Bonnie Burnard's story begins just after the Second World War with Bill, a hardware store manager, his wife Sylvia and their three young children, Patrick, Paul and Daphne. Although these characters cannot anticipate the challenges that will shape their lives, they learn to approach difficulties with grace and tenacity. Births and deaths, weddings and funerals, secrets and revelations are woven into the powerful narrative of A Good House.

Editorial Reviews

"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.…a daring feat, and one that will move the reader to recognition and, at times, to tears. Our literature needs this kind of real wealth, our own lives given back to us in the form of enduring language.”- Carol Shields, The Ottawa Citizen“Beautifully written. The ordinary moments of life become luminous, lovely, under this compassionate eye.”- Elizabeth Strout, author of Amy and Isabelle“One of those quietly resonant novels that memorably portray a family and a place as time presses on.”- Kirkus Reviews “A deeply moving story of the truths of family life.”- Publishers Weekly “In A Good House, Bonnie Burnard imbues the apparently ordinary lives of her characters with a dignity that renders them unforgettable. She has a sense of the moment that gives value and meaning to a life.”- Nino Ricci, Alberto Manguel and Judy Mappin, 1999 Giller Prize jury panel“…as compelling to the outsider…as one’s own family history would be…Burnard manages, with what seems almost magical skill, to bring 11 major characters, as well as the characters of their homes and their shared and disparate worlds, fully to life…Anyone who loves history, legends, architecture, comedies, psychological studies and rambling, delicious novels will love A Good House and will never again look at any family in quite the same way.”- The Globe and Mail“It’s the small details, bits of ordinary life, that make this story real. These are the kinds of characters we can’t help growing attached to; we wish them well and worry for them - even after we’ve set Burnard’s book aside…Burnard is such an accomplished storyteller that she manages to blur the line between fact and fiction.”- The Gazette (Montreal)“It is strange and wonderful to finish A Good House and look back at the arc it has followed - the children who began the novel are now old, or gone, their children have grown up, and the reader has been there as they lived their lives, witness to all the turns and tragedies they have encountered together and severally…Bonnie Burnard made her mark on the landscape of Canadian fiction with her first two books. Now, with the publication of A Good House, that mark is irrefutably indelible.” - The Edmonton Journal“… this gem of a first novel… is essential Burnard: appearances are lovingly, nostalgically recreated to be followed by a devastating insight that belies all we initially see… It is a legend of pain, pretense and hopeless love, the stuff that small towns, even big towns, are made of.”- Time“Burnard’s wise and assured first novel is an accomplishment to celebrate.”- Quill & Quire“… You don’t just read A Good House; you move into it for a while. And if it’s a more forgiving place than your childhood home, so much the better. Burnard’s characters can show what thriving families have always known.- Chatelaine“A Good House is the best proof in recent memory that realist fiction can contain the imaginative charge and impact of the wildest fantasy or science fiction - skillfully handled, the everyday world can amount to legend.”- Ottawa Xpress“…[A Good House is] a celebration of the Canadian family and small-town life…characterization and setting come vividly alive.”- Winnipeg Free Press“…In A Good House, Burnard exercises her considerable talent and skill as she provides readers with a story rich in detail, texturing and characterization.”- The Sunday Daily News (Halifax)“A Good House is written with confidence, steady wisdom, its large cast of characters beautifully assembled…rich layers of everyday life have been peeled back to reveal the often startling depths of ordinary human experience. The writer’s fine eye for detail and her unerring sense of her characters’ strengths and inadequacies help lend the novel its radiance and grace.”- The London Free Press