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The Good Parents


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About the Author

Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, SISTER SHIPS, which won the AGE Book of the Year in 1986, and LETTER TO CONSTANTINE, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the Premier's Award for Fiction. These collections were published in one volume by Picador as THE NEW DARK AGE. In 2001 her first novel, GILGAMESH, was published, and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin, as well as a host of other awards, and chosen as the AGE Book of the Year for Fiction in 2002. It was also longlisted for the Orange Prize and the Dublin Impac. THE GOOD PARENTS, Joan London's most recent novel, was published in April 2008 to acclaim. It has since reprinted three times and was shortlisted for the AGE Fiction Book of the Year. It will be published in the UK and US as well as Europe in 2009.


London (Gilgamesh) delivers an excellent family drama rooted in rural Australian lives. The novel opens with a lengthy glimpse into the life of 20-year-old Maya de Jong, who has recently left her small hometown for a new job (and subsequently an affair with the new boss) in Melbourne. As early as the second chapter, however, it's clear that the narrative interest lies with Maya's parents, Toni and Jacob, who arrive for an extended vacation to discover Maya's gone missing. Maya's puzzling, abrupt absence--which will leave readers perplexed nearly as long as the de Jongs are--leaves Toni and Jacob with little to do but wait for her to contact them; this period of enforced helplessness and isolation provides a metaphorical insight into the parents of adult children, who, as Jacob reflects, reveal their own self-doubts and self-awareness once their parental role is finished. The narrative shifts subtly among the past and present of a wide cast, each of whom has his or her own story of abandoning one life for another. This insightful novel illuminates with seeming ease the fraught relationships among friends, families and entire communities. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

London, winner of the Age Book of the Year Award for Gilgamesh, tells the story of a family history repeating itself and being redeemed. Maya, a young woman fresh from Australia's outback, leaves with her boss for Thailand after his wife's funeral, although her parents, Jacob and Toni, are on their way to see her. When Jacob and Toni arrive, they are devastated by Maya's disappearance, which sets them to thinking about the patterns of their own youth--for Toni, of her marriage to a controlling mobster and for Jacob, of falling in love with a young woman who died in an accident. They do their best to track down Maya and wait for her to return, to herself and to them. The story frequently changes time and perspective, weaving together patterns between characters and eras. London's narrative is deft, transcending a typical family saga and poignantly illuminating not only the harsh truths but also the gentle nobility of her characters' lives. Absorbing and suspenseful; recommended for medium to large libraries.--Amy Ford, St. Mary's Cty. Lib., Lexington Park, MD Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Although you are tickled by the urge to know what happens in the end, this is a novel you read slowly, with steadily increasing pleasure and interest, getting to know the widely varied and vividly realized characters, savoring the experience of so thoroughly Inhabiting someone else's world and taking it away with you at the end." -- Katharine England

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