> Skip to content
  • Published: 19 March 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143790259
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

The Good Parents




Pacy and enthralling, The Good Parents is at once a vision of contemporary Australia and a story as old as fairytales: that of a runaway girl.

Winner of the 2009 Christina Stead Award for fiction

Maya de Jong, an eighteen-year-old country girl from the West, comes to live in Melbourne and starts an affair with her boss, the enigmatic Maynard Flynn, whose wife is dying of cancer. When Maya's parents, Toni and Jacob, arrive to stay with her, they are told by her housemate that Maya has gone away and no one knows where she is. As Toni and Jacob wait and search for Maya in Melbourne, everything in their lives is brought into question. They recall the yearning and dreams, the betrayals and choices of their pasts - choices with unexpected and irrevocable consequences. With Maya's disappearance, the lives of all those close to her come into focus, to reveal the complexity of the ties that bind us to one another, to parents, children, siblings, friends and lovers.

Pacy and enthralling, The Good Parents is at once a vision of contemporary Australia and a story as old as fairytales: that of a runaway girl.

  • Published: 19 March 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143790259
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Joan London

Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier’s Award for fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age. Her first novel, Gilgamesh, was published in 2001, won the Age Book of the Year for fiction and was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel, The Good Parents, was published in 2008 and won the Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Joan London’s books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim.

The Golden Age (2014), Joan London’s third novel, won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction, the Kibble Literary Award, the Western Australian Premier’s Award for fiction and the Queensland Literary Award for fiction, and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Stella Prize, the ALS Gold Medal and the Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

In 2015, Joan London was named a Western Australian State Living Treasure, and was also the recipient of the Patrick White Award, for a lifetime's 'outstanding contribution to Australian literature'. The judges described her body of work as 'quiet, poetic prose [that] opens up worlds, both real and imagined, of travel, desire, loss and love . . . London’s nomadic characters travel through space and time affirming through their relationships and varied histories a global humanity.'

Also by Joan London

See all

Praise for The Good Parents

London’s prose is a seamlessly shifting blend of poetry, pathos and humor

The Washington Post

Illuminates with seeming ease the fraught relationships between friends, families and entire communities

Publishers Weekly

[London] evokes place with . . . vivid precision. In her lyrical prose landscapes and buildings, even rocks and trees, have an almost human quality

Guardian, UK

Shimmering . . . quietly arresting, full of elegance and mystery . . . offering bright gleams of insight and observation, delivered in rippling, exquisite prose . . . London’s language is so lovely, her tone so gentle, that the sadness of her truths is somehow shocking.

New York Times Book Review

London writes wonderfully about intimacy between strangers . . . The Good Parents is underwritten by a wealth of human understanding. It knows stuff. It has compassion for people who make choices they don't have to, for families that never set. London pushes characters towards each other against the forces of nature. The results are as powerful as they are unsettling.

The Age

Awards & recognition

The Age Book of the Year Award

Shortlisted  •  2007  •  The Age Book of the Year Award

NSW Premier's Literary Awards

Winner  •  2008  •  NSW Premier's Literary Awards (The Christina Stead Prize)

Commonwealth Writer's Prize

Shortlisted  •  2009  •  Commonwealth Writer's Prize

Prime Minister's Literary Awards

Shortlisted  •  2009  •  Prime Minister's Literary Awards

The Barbara Jefferis Award

Shortlisted  •  2009  •  The Barbara Jefferis Award (Life Writing)

Related titles