Good To a Fault
By Marina Endicott
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061825897, 384pp.)
Publication Date: April 2010
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Shortlisted for Canada's prestigious Giller Prize, this "profoundly humane novel" (Vancouver Sun), wrings suspense and humor out of the everyday choices we make, revealing the delicate balance between sacrifice and self-interest, doing good and being good.
Clara Purdy is at a crossroads. At forty-three, she is divorced, living in her late parents' house, and near-ing her twentieth year as a claims adjuster at a local insurance firm. Driving to the bank during her lunch hour, she crashes into a sharp left turn, taking the Gage family in the other car with her. When bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer, Clara decides to do the right thing. She moves Lorraine's three children and their terrible grandmother into her own houseand then has to cope with the consequences of practical goodness: exhaustion, fury, hilarity, and unexpected love.
What, exactly, does it mean to be good? What do we owe each other in this life, and what do we deserve? Good to a Fault is an ultimately joyful book that digs deep, with leavening humor, into questions of morality, class, and social responsibility. Marina Endicott looks at life and death through the compassionate, humane lens of a born novelist: being good, being at fault, and finding some balance in between.
Marina Endicott worked as an actor and director before moving to London, England, where she began to write fiction. She now makes her home in Alberta. Her second novel, Good to a Fault, was nominated for the Giller Prize and won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book Award for Canada and the Caribbean.
- “None of the words in church made sense to her. The Creed—what part of that could she say she believed? Resurrection of the body, life everlasting, not those… She thought of her mother and father falling to shreds in their graves, and then, sharply, of Lorraine.” Throughout Good to a Fault, there seems to be a tension between faith, or religious sensibility, and the more institutionalized religion of church ritual and scripture. Do you think the novel moves towards reconciliation between the two? How do you think attitudes toward faith and religion have changed in the twenty-first century?
“Good to a Fault is one of those novels you want to tell people about. It’s unpretentious and affecting, with characters to remember and themes that linger and resound.”
-Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Ten-Year Nap
“There’s heartbreak, there’s joy, there are parts where you cry—and it’s very high quality writing. Well done!”
-Margaret Atwood, Giller Prize Jury remarks
“Probing the moral and emotional minefield of heroic Samaritan acts, Endicott’s enchanting and poignant novel of compassion run amok handles provocative issues with a deft and winsome touch.”
-Carol Haggas, Booklist (starred review)
“An Anne Tyler-esque domestic drama. . . . Narrated with such lambent detail and compassion that it succeeds in casting a spell. . . . A limpid, witty, humane talent to watch.”
“A brilliantly balanced and engrossing work about illness, charity, and the very tenuous nature of goodness. Fans of contemporary fiction exploring the dangers of complacency and how domestic upheaval can lead to personal growth will enjoy; think Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Berg, and Anita Shreve. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.”
-Jenn B. Stidham, Library Journal
“An enjoyable and affirming meditation on altruism, goodness, and loneliness…. A touching story.”
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org