Good to a Fault

by Marina Endicott

September 2009
5 x 8 paper 400 pages
ISBN 978-1-55111-999-1
CDN $19.95

Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award, Canada and the Caribbean

A CBC Canada Reads 2010 pick

Finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

Longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Over 30,000 copies sold

In a moment of self-absorption, Clara Purdy’s life takes a sharp left turn when she crashes into a beat-up car carrying an itinerant family of six. The Gage family had been travelling to a new life in Fort McMurray, but bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer rather than remnants of the accident. Recognizing their need as her responsibility, Clara tries to do the right thing and moves the children, husband, and horrible grandmother into her own house—then has to cope with the consequences of practical goodness.

As Lorraine walks the borders of death, Clara expands into life, finding purpose, energy, and unexpected love amidst the hard, unaccustomed work of sharing her days. But the burden is not Clara’s alone: Lorraine’s children must cope with divided loyalties and Lorraine must live with her growing, unpayable debt to Clara–and the feeling that Clara has taken her place.

What, exactly, does it mean to be good? When is sacrifice merely selfishness? What do we owe in this life and what do we deserve? Marina Endicott looks at life and death through the compassionate lens of a born novelist: being good, being at fault, and finding some balance on the precipice.


Good to a Fault is utterly engaging…this is a novel that gets under the skin.”
Quill & Quire

“Marina Endicott…[brings] intelligence, warmth and wit to bear in tales about ordinary people”
Times Literary Supplement

“Endicott writes precisely and lucently, and sustains her novel well beyond any number of easy conclusions to provide a convincing case that some redemptive force is at work in the world, even if it’s just our own innate creativity and talent for finding love”
The National Post

“Endicott’s background in theatre, as both actor and director, are evident in the brisk pacing of the novel, the complex unfolding of plot and character. The writing is undoubtedly assured, and though the subject is weighty, the prose is leavened with a gentle, loving humour”
The Montreal Gazette

“Marina Endicott is really funny, a sweet-natured but sharp-eyed and quick-tongued social observer in the Jane Austen-Barbara Pym-Anne Tyler tradition, who can wring love, revulsion and hilarity from readers in a single page.”
–T.F. Rigelhof, The Globe and Mail

“Endicott manages to create utterly realistic characters with believable dialogue and thoughts, whether adult or child. And she makes them sympathetic even when they are doing something wrong…Like Endicott’s first book, Open Arms, and reminiscent of the work of Carol Shields, Good to a Fault is a profoundly humane novel.”
–Candace Fertile, The Vancouver Sun

“Good to a Fault is compelling, funny and meaningful”
The Calgary Herald