A finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a national bestseller, Zoe Whittall’s The Best Kind of People is a stunning tour de force about the unravelling of an all-American family.
George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.
About the author
ZOE WHITTALL’s third novel, The Best Kind of People is currently being adapted for limited series by director Sarah Polley. It was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, named Indigo’s #1 Book of 2016, a Heather’s Pick and a Best Book of the Year by the Walrus, the Globe and Mail, Toronto Life and the National Post. Her second novel, Holding Still for as Long as Possible, won a Lambda Literary Award for trans fiction and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her debut novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, won the Dayne Ogilvie Prize and is being adapted for screen. In 2014 Whittall sold her first sitcom, Breaking, to CTV, and recently optioned the half-hour comedy Wellville to CBC. She has worked as a TV writer on the Emmy Award–winning comedy Schitt’s Creek and the Baroness Von Sketch Show, for which she won a 2018 Canadian Screen Award. She has written three volumes of poetry, most recently an anniversary reissue of The Emily Valentine Poems, about which Eileen Myles said, “I would like to know everything about this person.” Zoe Whittall was born on a sheep farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, has an MFA from the University of Guelph and has called Toronto home since 1997.
- Short-listed, Scotiabank Giller Prize
Fast-paced … but never melodramatic.
Whittall places the reader right at the centre of their pain. It’s the best depiction of female suffering I’ve read since Jane Smiley eloquently tackled sexual abuse in A Thousand Acres.” — Toronto Star“Nuanced to the end, Whittall’s novel achieves something that’s rare in real-life cases of sexual violence. She gives a voice to the ones we never hear from: those who are collateral damage.
Whittall raises her game dramatically in this Giller-shortlisted novel.
A story like this never ends… . A humane, clear eyed attempt to explore the ripple effects of sexual crime.
Owen Sound Sun Times
Toronto author Zoe Whittall’s new novel The Best Kind of People is the best kind of book — it’s got a compelling story, characters readers will recognize and come to love, and writing that makes it effortless to turn page after page.
An astounding portrait of a character by omission.