Karen Valby
September 08, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Good House

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Bonnie Burnard
publisher
Henry Holt and Company
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

When Sylvia Chambers dies, three young children and a bereft husband lose their family anchor. Their quiet grieving opens the tender novel A Good House (an award-winning best-seller in the author’s native Canada), which spans a half century in the lives of an Ontario family. Each generation endures its share of cataclysmic events — a son’s untimely death, a husband’s failings, a newborn’s handicap — but the graceful Bonnie Burnard doesn’t depend on such milestones to fuel her story. Times of mourning and celebration quickly give way to the comforting lulls of everyday life. By the book’s ending, your level of attachment to this family, whose reservoirs of decency and humor run deep, may surprise you. A-

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