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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
A Good House

A Good House

A Novel

Bonnie Burnard

Henry Holt and Co.


A runaway #1 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 begins in 1949 in Stonebrook, Ontario, home to the Chambers family. The postwar boom and hope for the future colors every facet of life: possibilities seem limitless for Bill, his wife, Sylvia, and their three children.

In the fifty years that follow, the possibilities narrow into lives, etched by character, fate, and circumstance. 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.
With her remarkable ability to probe the hidden, often disturbing landscapes of love and to illuminate the complexities of human experience, Bonnie Burnard brings to her deceptively simple narrative a clarity that is both moving and profound.

Giller Prize - Winner

Praise for A Good House

“Beautifully written. The ordinary moments of life become luminous, lovely, under this compassionate eye.” —Elizabeth Strout, author of Amy and Isabelle

“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

“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

Reviews from Goodreads

Bonnie Burnard

Bonnie Burnard's A Good House won the 1999 Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award; previous winners include Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Rohinton Mistry. A resident of London, Ontario, Burnard is also the author of two award-winning story collections. A Good House is her first book to be published in the United States.

Bonnie Burnard