Good Things I Wish You (Paperback)

A Novel

By A. Manette Ansay

Harper Perennial, 9780061239953, 272pp.

Publication Date: June 22, 2010

List Price: 13.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


“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), you’ll find much to love in A. Manette Ansay’s 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.

Praise For Good Things I Wish You: A Novel

“Reminiscent of The French Lieutenant’s 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 love—and what doesn’t change between women and men. Manette Ansay takes great risks to deliver great rewards.”
— Stewart O'Nan

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

“Intriguingly accompanied by reproductions of Schumann-Brahms ephemera, Ansay’s 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

“Ansay’s 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 Clara’s or Robert’s descendants.”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A meditation on art and love in the European mode. . . . [Ansay] is a gifted and sure-handed storyteller.”
— Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“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 book’s evocative moods of past and present.”
— Miami Herald

“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 leaves no variation unexplored, and its delicate melody lingers after the final page.”
— South Florida Sun Sentinel

Conversation Starters from

  1. Women's friendships are central to The Lace Makers of Glenmara. Discuss the shifting alliances, confidences, and conflicts among Bernie, Kate, Aileen, Oona, Moira, and Colleen. Who is a good friend? Why?
  2. Lace making has a major role in the novel. What role does the craft take in the women's lives? How does it shape them? Change them?
  3. Many small towns experience a tension between the modern world and tradition values. How does this dynamic affect Glenmara?
  4. What are the characters' attitudes toward faith and religion? How is Catholicism treated in the novel?
  5. To what extent is Father Byrne a villain? Is it possible to sympathize with the motivations and feelings behind his actions?
  6. How does Kate's personal history affect her life and the choices she makes in Glenmara?
  7. Sibling relationships can be difficult. Discuss what binds Aileen and Moira together, and what drives them apart. How does their relationship change over the course of the novel?
  8. What is at the root of the conflicts between Aileen and her daughter, Rosheen? Do they see each other differently by the end of the book? Why?
  9. The Lace Makers of Glenmara has a rich cast of minor characters. How do they contribute to the texture of the novel?
  10. A spectrum of romantic relationships are portrayed in the book. What keeps Moira in her marriage? What strains and joys are present in the other women's relationships? Who has the best marriage?
  11. Who is the happiest character in the novel? The most discontented? Why?
  12. What do you imagine happens next between Kate and Sullivan?