Good Faith by Jane Smiley

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Greed. Envy. Sex. Property. In her subversively funny and genuinely moving new novel, Jane Smiley nails down several American obsessions with the expertise of a master carpenter.

Forthright, likable Joe Stratford is the kind of local businessman everybody trusts, for good reason. But it’s 1982, and even in Joe’s small town, values are in upheaval: not just property values, either. Enter Marcus Burns, a would-be master of the universe whose years with the IRS have taught him which rules are meant to be broken. Before long he and Joe are new best friends—and partners in an investment venture so complex that no one may ever understand it. Add to this Joe’s roller coaster affair with his mentor’s married daughter. The result is as suspenseful and entertaining as any of Jane Smiley’s fiction.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Jane Smiley

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JANE SMILEY is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres and more than ten other works of fiction, as well as three works of nonfiction, including a critically acclaimed biography of Charles Dickens. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in northern California.
Published April 22, 2003 by Anchor. 432 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Good Faith

Kirkus Reviews

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Smiley nails the Greed Decade with her trademark precision and philosophical bite.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Good Faith

Publishers Weekly

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Smiley's range as a writer is always surprising. Eschewing both the tragic dimension of A Thousand Acres and the satiric glee of Moo<

Feb 17 2003 | Read Full Review of Good Faith

The New York Times

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In Jane Smiley's novel, an exurban Everyman becomes enmeshed in a high-rolling real estate deal.

Apr 27 2003 | Read Full Review of Good Faith

Book Reporter

"What I really liked," Joe says at one point, "[was] selling old houses to decent people … and then watching as individual lives developed in those houses."

Sep 07 2014 | Read Full Review of Good Faith

AV Club

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Jane Smiley's 12th novel, Good Faith, operates just like real life: It introduces so many characters, minor events, slight diversions,...

May 23 2003 | Read Full Review of Good Faith


Smiley has fun with these scenes, and sometimes her overblown words come right out of a realtor's book, as when Joe describes "the dark house that we made by pressing the portals of our lips together, so spacious and fascinating a place that our whole selves could go right in there and live."Thou...

Sep 07 2014 | Read Full Review of Good Faith

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