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Fiction Marriage & Divorce

Everybody Has Everything

by (author) Katrina Onstad

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Apr 2013
Marriage & Divorce, Family Life, Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2013
    List Price

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A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year, and longlisted for the Giller Prize, Katrina Onstad's second novel is an emotionally riveting exploration of what happens in the marriage of an urban professional couple when they suddenly and unexpectedly become the parents of a toddler. 

"Tenderly observed and elegantly drawn," (Vincent Lam) the vivid, utterly believable characters in this perceptive and poignant novel experience the challenges and joys of modern love in all its many permutations.

After a car accident leaves their friend Marcus dead and his wife Sarah in a coma, Ana and James are shocked to discover that they are the legal guardians of a 2½-year-old. Finn's crash-landing in their lives throws into high relief deeply rooted, and sometimes long-hidden, truths about themselves, both individually and as a couple. Ultimately, they must face a question that remains virtually taboo in contemporary life: Can everyone be a parent?

About the author

KATRINA ONSTAD is a multiple award–winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, the New York Times Magazine, the Guardian and Elle. Her critically lauded novels include How Happy to Be and Everybody Has Everything, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. Onstad lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

Katrina Onstad's profile page


  • Nominated, Scotiabank Giller Prize

Editorial Reviews

Longlisted - 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Shortlisted - 2013 Toronto Book Award
A Globe and Mail 100 Best Book of 2012
A NOW magazine Top 10 Book of 2012

“More ambitious and assured that Onstad’s debut, but just as gripping. . . . Onstad’s timely new novel examines how and why adults choose to be parents, and what happens when you don’t have that much choice in the matter. . . . Ana and James are thoroughly convincing and their agony and triumphs compelling in this impressive sophomore effort.”
The Globe and Mail
“A literary excursion into the poignancy and murkiness of loss, parenting and marriage. . . . This is sharp, edgy writing. . . . Onstad mines the emotions of flawed and wounded characters. . . . Impressive . . . intelligent, ambitious and unsettling. . . . Most definitely memorable.”
Winnipeg Free Press
“Unsparingly honest. . . . Never sentimental but always compassionate, this compelling book is hard to put down.”
Hello magazine
“Everyone will recognize the all too common yearnings and failings of two people trying to figure out what will make them happy . . . “
 “This new book is very good, to get that out of the way: Onstad’s writing is always vigorous, funny and mean-because-it’s-true. . . . Onstad perfectly gets at her characters, and their so-called “status life”: . . . the rhythms of rich, white city parents, who used to be young and who have problems that are at once real and magical. Writing all of it like this, so cruel and right, makes it feel even worse than it is, but by its very telling, a little bit better.”
National Post
“Revelations are both joyous and heartbreaking, and Onstad handles both aspects well. . . . The characters’ motivations, self-revelations, and discoveries are carefully elucidated, such that the reader is able to form connections not just with Ana and James, but with the supporting characters as well. . . . Onstad delicately builds up layers and peels them away . . .”
Quill & Quire

“[A] radiant novel powered by gorgeous writing, a quietly propulsive plot, and an uncannily accurate rendering of the way love, lust, rage, and reconciliation ebb and flow in the life of a couple.”
Real Simple

 “With concise, elegant prose, the author presents an audacious look at a question no one is supposed to ask, namely, can everyone be parents? Or, more important, should they?”
Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Tenderly observed and elegantly drawn, Onstad's characters are true to the deep worries and tangential shifts of fate which often define modern life; they remind us of that life's ability to soothe, to hurt, and to heal.”
—Vincent Lam, author of the Giller Prize-winning Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures and The Headmaster’s Wager
"Utterly rich, vivid and filled with urgency. I couldn't take my eyes off of these characters."
—Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of The Descendants
“Everyone will recognize the all too common yearnings and failings of two people trying to figure out what will make them happy . . .”
“Onstad makes a significant leap into the deep end with this story. . . . Brave work from a writer who gets better with every book.”
NOW magazine

“Everybody Has Everything is about many things – family, friendship, responsibility, loss – but at its heart, it’s about what happens when the person you love suddenly veers off in another direction. It is unflinching yet tender, gripping and lyrical and devastating. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
—Lauren Fox, author of Still Life with Husband and Friends Like Us

User Reviews

They don't always have everything . . .

What a wonderfully written novel about what happens when you get something you thought you wanted and yet it's not what you wanted at all. A brilliantly different look at parenthood and the journey that both men and women take to get there, or not get there. I loved that this shows the emotional side of a husband trying to do best for his wife while fighting his own desire to be a parent.

You will not be disappointed and you will be left wanting more, a perfect combination!

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