Benevolence by Cynthia Holz

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Like Ben, Holz may be wondering if her particular subject has been done before or done better, by writers living or dead. Yet, the most distinct characteristic of a work of fiction will always be the quality of the author’s voice — and no one can say it like she can.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

Cynthia Holz's first novel with Knopf Canada is a spellbinding story that offers an intimate look at family, friendship and altruism, and unrolls a cast of characters you can't help but root for even as you question some of the things they do.

Dr. Ben Wasserman, an organ transplant psychiatrist, is having trouble assessing a would-be kidney donor who may turn out to be a bona fide altruist. But as his interest in the man grows, so do his professional and emotional conflicts. At the same time, Ben's psychologist wife, Renata Moon, is struggling to treat a phobic client whose husband died in a train crash. When the young woman reveals that she is pregnant, Renata's disappointment in her own childless marriage is triggered anew.

Ben and Renata work hard all day, then go home to squabble over the nightly take-out. It doesn't help to ease the rising tension in their marriage that Ben's widowed mother, Molly, has made her disapproval of her yet-to-be-pregnant daughter-in-law well known. Nor does it help when Molly takes in a boarder, a man from her past whose secrets threaten to complicate the family dynamics even more.

Benevolence is intelligent, amusing and deeply humane, a novel that asks unsettling questions, makes surprising connections and allows room for some unexpected, magical solutions.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Cynthia Holz

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CYNTHIA HOLZ is the author of four previous novels, including A Good Man and Semi Detached, and a collection of short fiction, all of which were widely acclaimed. She was born and raised in New York City and has lived in Toronto since moving there as a journalist in 1976, an occupation she finally set aside in favour of writing fiction.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published March 15, 2011 by Knopf Canada. 322 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Benevolence
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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Donna Bailey Nurse on Apr 01 2011

Like Ben, Holz may be wondering if her particular subject has been done before or done better, by writers living or dead. Yet, the most distinct characteristic of a work of fiction will always be the quality of the author’s voice — and no one can say it like she can.

Read Full Review of Benevolence | See more reviews from National Post arts

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