Kimbofo reviews Everybody Has Everything

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Kimbofo has posted her review of Katrina Onstad’s Everybody Has Everything and given it five stars — we will see in a matter of minutes whether or not the Real Jury puts it on the shortlist. Her full review is here; for now, here as an excerpt:

Katrina Onstad’s Everybody Has Everything — longlisted for this year’s Giller Prize — is billed as a story about parenthood, but I think it’s more accurate to describe it as a portrait of a marriage. It is also a compelling examination of how different people find fulfilment in different ways. More importantly, it is so filled with home truths — about relationships, friends, family and society — that if you don’t recognise yourself within these pages you will see someone else you know, perhaps a friend, a sibling or work colleague.

A portrait of married life

The story revolves around a married couple — Ana, a high-flying corporate lawyer in her late 30s, and James, 42, a documentary film-maker who has just been laid-off from his television job. From the outset, it can be assumed that it is Ana, the major breadwinner and ambitious career woman, who wears the trousers in the relationship, but as the narrative evolves we learn that nothing is quite what it seems and that both partners are deeply flawed and grappling with their own needs and desires. The title of the book may suggest that “everybody has everything”, but do they really?

For a start, Ana and James cannot have children. They find this out on the morning they are to attend the wedding of their friends Marcus and Sarah, who is eight months pregnant. They have only known Marcus and Sarah for a short time, but the friendship becomes a central part of their busy lives and the resultant child, a boy called Finn, effectively becomes the child they couldn’t have.

Whether or not the novel makes the shortlist, I will be posting a review here soon. For a much different assessment than Kimbofo’s, check out the comment from our “honorary” participant, lascosas, in her overview of all 13 longlisteds titles in the comments section here.

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