Everybody Has Everything
"Tenderly observed and elegantly drawn," (Vincent Lam) the vivid, utterly believable characters in this perceptive and poignant novel experience the challenges and joys of modern love in all its many permutations.
After a car accident leaves their friend Marcus dead and his wife Sarah in a coma, Ana and James are shocked to discover that they are the legal guardians of a 2½-year-old. 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. Ultimately, they must face a question that remains virtually taboo in contemporary life: Can everyone be a parent?
1. How do you understand the meaning of the novel’s title?
2. Consider the epigraph the author has chosen. What do you think she hopes you to take from it? How does is relate to the novel?
3. There are many poetic and musical references in the novel, and one song in particular plays a key role in the...
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