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Goodness

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Having previously depicted the excesses of religious fundamentalism in Tongues of Flame , Parks here ironically explores the meaning of moral ``goodness'' from the point of view of a fiercely atheistic protagonist. George Crawley is the son of a missionary murdered in Burundi and a piously self-sacrificing, ``obstinately optimistic'' mother, who takes George and his sister back to England and dedicates the rest of her life to caring for her foul-tempered old father and the ``walking wounded'' of the Methodist Church. Scornful of all religious observance and determined to rise in the world, George transcends his lower-middle-class background in a marriage to wealthy Shirley Harcourt, with whom he pursues the good life--until she gives birth to a deformed, severely handicapped child. Scenes reminiscent of Joe Egg detail baby Hilary's travails and her parents' realization that she will always be a burden. Though he learns to love the child, George is determined to end Hilary's existence--and Shirley's martyrdom in caring for her--via euthanasia. The evolution of George's moral conscience, his epiphany during a crisis he has deliberately created, and Shirley's own decision in the novel's astonishing denouement will keep readers absorbed in this mordant, thought-provoking tragicomedy. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Parks explores the nature of goodness and moral faith in this poignant, witty, and disturbing novel. George Crawley, son of a missionary father and a pious mother, strives to escape his past by adopting a yuppie lifestyle in suburban London. He marries his college sweetheart, Shirley, gets a good job, and is superbly happy until Shirley gives birth to a blind, deformed, mentally retarded daughter. Trapped by his defective genes, George falters in his plans for the good life and is forced into confronting his true self. Parks questions difficult subjects--abortion, euthanasia, adultery, guilt--but his writing is always humorous, and his characters are both funny and bizarre. The novel builds to a spectacular climax that is unexpected as well as unforgettable.-- Stephanie Furtsch, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802133045
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Series: Parks, Tim Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.29 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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