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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.

Reviews

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

Publishers Weekly

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

The Washington Post

[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

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143790259

    March 19, 2018

    Penguin

    368 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Paperback

    9781741666526

    April 1, 2009

    Vintage Australia

    368 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781742749488

    December 1, 2012

    Random House Australia

    368 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks

Awards and Recognition

  • The Age Book of the Year Award
    2007
    Shortlisted
    The Age Book of the Year Award
  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards
    2008
    Winner
    NSW Premier's Literary Awards (The Christina Stead Prize)
  • Commonwealth Writer's Prize
    2009
    Shortlisted
    Commonwealth Writer's Prize
  • Prime Minister's Literary Awards
    2009
    Shortlisted
    Prime Minister's Literary Awards
  • The Barbara Jefferis Award
    2009
    Shortlisted
    The Barbara Jefferis Award (Life Writing)

Also by Joan London