I read about this novel on Cornflower Books – I can’t find the reference now it might even be in a comment somewhere – anyway I thought if I see it around I’ll grab a copy and then, on the very day, I find it in a second hand book store. I had no idea what to expect, but I loved it. It contains a wealth of domestic detail about raising three children and just how hard (and messy) that can be.
This is the description from Allen & Unwin
In a novel reminiscent of the work of Penelope Lively, Anne Tyler, and Alice Munro, acclaimed author Marina Endicott gives us one of the most profound and most memorable reads of the year.
Absorbed in her own failings, Clara Purdy crashes her life into a sharp left turn, taking the young family in the other car along with her. When bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer, Clara – against all habit and comfort – moves the three children and their terrible grandmother into her own house.
We know what is good, but we don’t do it. In Good to a Fault, Clara decides to give it a try, and then has to cope with the consequences: exhaustion, fury, hilarity, and unexpected love. But she must question her own motives. Is she acting out of true goodness, or out of guilt? Most shamefully, has she taken over simply because she wants the baby for her own?
What do we owe in this life, and what do we deserve? This compassionate, funny, and fiercely intelligent novel looks at life and death through grocery-store reading glasses: being good, being at fault, and finding some balance on the precipice.
The writing is magnificent. Marina Endicott using free indirect style to great effect – we move in and out of the heads of most of the characters and therefore understand and sympathise with their lives.
Do we do our good deeds expecting gratitude or recognition? I think we probably do and I felt for Clara when things didn’t turn out quite how she expected.
I think this is domestic fiction at it’s best – it forces us to think about own motivations and assumptions.
Here are some other reviews …