Everybody Has Everything Paperback – Deckle Edge, May 29 2012
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Longlisted - 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Shortlisted - 2013 Toronto Book Award
A Globe and Mail 100 Best Book of 2012
A NOW magazine Top 10 Book of 2012
“More ambitious and assured that Onstad’s debut, but just as gripping. . . . Onstad’s timely new novel examines how and why adults choose to be parents, and what happens when you don’t have that much choice in the matter. . . . Ana and James are thoroughly convincing and their agony and triumphs compelling in this impressive sophomore effort.”
—The Globe and Mail
“A literary excursion into the poignancy and murkiness of loss, parenting and marriage. . . . This is sharp, edgy writing. . . . Onstad mines the emotions of flawed and wounded characters. . . . Impressive . . . intelligent, ambitious and unsettling. . . . Most definitely memorable.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“Unsparingly honest. . . . Never sentimental but always compassionate, this compelling book is hard to put down.”
“Everyone will recognize the all too common yearnings and failings of two people trying to figure out what will make them happy . . . “
“This new book is very good, to get that out of the way: Onstad’s writing is always vigorous, funny and mean-because-it’s-true. . . . Onstad perfectly gets at her characters, and their so-called “status life”: . . . the rhythms of rich, white city parents, who used to be young and who have problems that are at once real and magical. Writing all of it like this, so cruel and right, makes it feel even worse than it is, but by its very telling, a little bit better.”
“Revelations are both joyous and heartbreaking, and Onstad handles both aspects well. . . . The characters’ motivations, self-revelations, and discoveries are carefully elucidated, such that the reader is able to form connections not just with Ana and James, but with the supporting characters as well. . . . Onstad delicately builds up layers and peels them away . . .”
—Quill & Quire
“[A] radiant novel powered by gorgeous writing, a quietly propulsive plot, and an uncannily accurate rendering of the way love, lust, rage, and reconciliation ebb and flow in the life of a couple.”
“With concise, elegant prose, the author presents an audacious look at a question no one is supposed to ask, namely, can everyone be parents? Or, more important, should they?”
—Library Journal (Starred Review)
“Tenderly observed and elegantly drawn, Onstad's characters are true to the deep worries and tangential shifts of fate which often define modern life; they remind us of that life's ability to soothe, to hurt, and to heal.”
—Vincent Lam, author of the Giller Prize-winning Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures and The Headmaster’s Wager
"Utterly rich, vivid and filled with urgency. I couldn't take my eyes off of these characters."
—Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of The Descendants
“Everyone will recognize the all too common yearnings and failings of two people trying to figure out what will make them happy . . .”
“Onstad makes a significant leap into the deep end with this story. . . . Brave work from a writer who gets better with every book.”
“Everybody Has Everything is about many things – family, friendship, responsibility, loss – but at its heart, it’s about what happens when the person you love suddenly veers off in another direction. It is unflinching yet tender, gripping and lyrical and devastating. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
—Lauren Fox, author of Still Life with Husband and Friends Like Us
About the Author
KATRINA ONSTAD's first novel, How Happy to Be, was published to great acclaim in 2006. Her award-winning journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Elle, and Toronto Life. Katrina lives in Toronto, where she is a culture columnist for the Globe and Mail. Visit her at www.katrinaonstad.com
Top Customer Reviews
The sudden and shocking arrival of Finn creates both upheaval and joy in their lives. James, who loses his job and suffers from a fear of becoming obsolete at 43, takes to parenting quickly. James and Finn bond in a way that seems foreign to Ana, who never quite relaxes around Finn. Thus, Ana feels scrutinized by James and overwhelmed by expectations that she should just seamlessly adjust to being a mother. Her first night alone with Finn, she wonders, 'How is motherhood supposed to feel? Because she wasn't sure that it should feel like this, so much like terror.'
One can't scan a newspaper or magazine these days without seeing articles about the role of motherhood, making Onstad's new novel a timely read. She thoroughly examines how and why adults choose to parent, and what happens when you don't have a choice in the matter. Ana and James come alive convincingly in this impressive novel; their compelling agony and triumphs remain with the reader long after the book closes.
Everybody has Everything has some poignant thoughts on life, love and marriage, but I found myself unable to connect to the two main characters. I could however relate to their relationship struggles which I found the most fascinating aspect of this novel and many of the relationship observations were bang on or made me sit back and think for a few moments before continuing.
Both main characters, Ana and James are deeply flawed, which made them interesting enough to read about, but I found them both really self-absorbed as well as not at all warm and loveable and I worried constantly about a child being handed over to their care. I found myself most drawn to their relationship, interested in each character's role in its demise and often wondered if it would survive the disruption of Finn's arrival. I also really enjoyed the exploration of Ana's fear of motherhood and her ambivalence toward children, which was different from many novels where women are portrayed as baby crazy. It was also interesting to watch James's ambivalence towards his marriage.
There was one stressful, heart breaking scene that really got me and lead to some rapid flipping of pages, but other than that, I bobbed along, not as invested as I hoped to be. The ending didn't sit well with me at all. I wanted things more clear, when there were left cloudy and ambivalent. There were also point of view changes that really threw me, and I had to re-read several passages over again to confirm who was speaking and how we went from one person to another, which I found detracted from the story.Read more ›