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The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done

(2002)
A novel by

 
 
When Chrysalis Moffat and her brother Eddie inherit a mansion on the coast of California, Eddie hatches a plan to fleece credulous Californians of their cash by starting the fraudulent Tibetan School of Miracles. With Ralph as the would-be guru and miracle worker, the "school" quickly becomes more successful than anybody first imagined.

But something else is happening. As Chrysalis begins to discover her adoptive father's secret past, her own identity begins to unravel. Was it actually in Peru that she was born? What has the CIA got to do with it? Who is Denise Cadwallader? At the same time, Chrysalis is being drawn into Ralph's strange and compelling world: a realm of mind-blowing coincidence, obsessive gambling, and mysterious siblings.

It is rare that novels come as intelligent and as funny as this one. Newman reveals a subtle understanding of human nature and our philosophical dilemmas, while at the same time charting a hilarious roller-coaster ride through the flotsam of American pop culture: from Californian Buddhist retreats to the temples of gambling, from secret agents to UFOs, and then around the corner to the parking lot of the nearest 7-Eleven.

At its core, The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done is a novel about self-discovery. As Chrysalis lays down the facts of her life, she gambles her identity against the contradictions, half-truths, and fables of her past, leading her ultimately to question what it is we can truly know, and whether it is fate or chance that dictates our lives.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Sandra Newman has an amazingly original way of thinking. The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done is often hysterically funny, profoundly strange, and unbearably beautiful. Often all at once." - Jonathan Safran Foer


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Used availability for Sandra Newman's The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done

Hardback Editions

June 2004 : USA Library Binding

Title: Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done
Author(s): S Newman
ISBN: 1-4176-4644-6 / 978-1-4176-4644-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Rebound by Sagebrush
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


May 2003 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done: A Novel
Author(s): Sandra Newman
ISBN: 0-06-051498-1 / 978-0-06-051498-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Harper
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

June 2004 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done: A Novel
Author(s): Sandra Newman
ISBN: 0-06-051499-X / 978-0-06-051499-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


March 2003 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done
Author(s): Sandra Newman
ISBN: 0-09-942879-2 / 978-0-09-942879-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon UK   


March 2002 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done
Author(s): Sandra Newman
ISBN: 0-7011-7311-4 / 978-0-7011-7311-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


Kindle Editions

August 2017 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done
Author(s): Sandra Newman
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA