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Everybody Has Everything [Deckle Edge] [Paperback]

Katrina Onstad
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Deckle Edge, May 29 2012 --  

Book Description

May 29 2012

Amazon.ca Editors' Pick: Best Books of 2012

Combining a pitch-perfect, whip-smart dissection of contemporary urban life with a fresh and perceptive examination of our individual and collective ambivalence towards parenthood, Katrina Onstad's Everbody Has Everything balances tragedy and comedy with verve and flair, and is destined to be one of Canada's most talked-about novels of 2012.
 
What happens when the tidy, prosperous life of an urban couple is turned inside out by a tragedy with unexpected consequences? After a car crash leaves their friend Marcus dead and his wife Sarah in a coma, Ana and James are shocked to discover that they have become the legal guardians of a 2½-year-old, Finn. Finn's crash-landing in their lives throws into high relief deeply rooted, and sometimes long-hidden, truths about themselves, both individually and as a couple. Several chaotic, poignant, and life-changing weeks as a most unusual family give rise to an often unasked question: Can everyone be a parent?

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Review

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.”
Hello magazine
 
“Everyone will recognize the all too common yearnings and failings of two people trying to figure out what will make them happy . . . “
Chatelaine
 
 “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.”
National Post
 
“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.”
Real Simple

 “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 . . .”
Chatelaine
 
“Onstad makes a significant leap into the deep end with this story. . . . Brave work from a writer who gets better with every book.”
NOW magazine

“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 MagazineThe 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


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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... July 15 2012
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
At its core, "Everybody Has Everything" depicts the existential panic that ensues when trying to decide whether or not to have children. Ana, a lawyer on the path to partnership, and James, a TV personality and aspiring novelist, have undergone countless unsuccessful fertility treatments. Just as they begin to settle into their childless lives, their friends Marcus and Sarah are in a car accident that leaves Marcus dead and Sarah in a coma. Ana and James become guardians to their two-year-old son, Finn.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't quite connect wtih this one Sept. 14 2012
By Lydia - Novel Escapes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
3.5 Star

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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking agility and precision with words Sept. 9 2012
By sean s. TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Katrina Onstad is a writer based in Toronto, and Everybody has Everything is the story of a couple who unexpectedly end up with a child.

The catch is that it is not their child: a couple with whom they are friends have been in a terrible car accident, with the husband dead, and the wife left in a coma. This has left their two-year-old son, Finn, at the hospital, injured but alive, and suddenly without parents or close relatives to look after him. Ana and James take him in.

" `Give him to me,' James whispered hoarsely, angry at the time between the now and the boy he needed to put to his chest, angry that no one had given him over sooner. He grabbed the bundle and My God, it was still warm, which meant he was alive - didn't it? And then something happened that was not of this earth, that was transporting, undenied. The bundle shook to life, let loose a howl never heard before, a howl from a place in the boy of all knowing, of the mines beneath the beneath, a sound of despair that rolled like a boulder over James. He held the boy closer, the boy who would soon be too big for this kind of holding, his legs dangling from James's torso, a sneaker on one foot, a dirty sock on the other, as if he had been running. The sticky black tar was not tar, James recognized finally, but blood. Blood in Finn's blonde hair that James was weeping into, keening along with him but holding on, holding him, the unbreakable, undroppable boy."

Without intending it, the addition of Finn destabilizes the unspoken knife's-edge entente, the precarious domestic balance that Ana and James had established.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay...not great. Aug. 14 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book looks better than it is..I have found it is a bit slow. Upside is that it is neat to read a book based in Toronto.
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