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Benevolence A Good Man Semi Detached The Other Side Onlyville Home Again

To purchase any of these titles, visit an online or local bookstore. A Good Man and Benevolence are also available as eBooks from your favorite e-retailer.


Cynthia Holz’s first novel with Knopf Canada is a spellbinding story that offers an intimate look at family, friendship and altruism, and unrolls a cast of characters you can’t help but root for even as you question some of the things they do.

Dr. Ben Wasserman, an organ transplant psychiatrist, is having trouble assessing a would-be kidney donor who may turn out to be a bona fide altruist. But as his interest in the man grows, so do his professional and emotional conflicts. At the same time, Ben’s psychologist wife, Renata Moon, is struggling to treat a phobic client whose husband died in a train crash. When the young woman reveals that she is pregnant, Renata’s disappointment in her own childless marriage is triggered anew.

Ben and Renata work hard all day, then go home to squabble over the nightly take-out. It doesn’t help to ease the rising tension in their marriage that Ben’s widowed mother, Molly, has made her disapproval of her yet-to-be-pregnant daughter-in-law well-known. Nor does it help when Molly takes in a boarder, a man from her past whose secrets threaten to complicate the family dynamics even more.

Benevolence is intelligent, amusing and deeply humane, a novel that asks unsettling questions, makes surprising connections and allows room for some unexpected, magical solutions.

Advance Praise for Benevolence

"Benevolence combines a deeply suspenseful plot with characters so vivid that I felt I might meet them at any moment on their way to a streetcar or a bar. Cynthia Holz writes beautifully about the longings and accommodations of middle age, work and trauma, poetry and gardens, and the possibility of altruism. The result is a wise and wonderful novel."
-Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street

"Cynthia Holz has a gift for ordinary trauma. In Benevolence, patients and equally frail physicians struggle to recover from life's pain. More alike than they know, braver than they think, Holz's broken people tap into the mysterious interconnectedness that roots us under the surface."
-Marina Endicott, author of Good to a Fault






A Good Man

When his best friend is murdered, Izzy Schneider is compelled to reconstruct their complex and rivalrous long-standing relationship. In the process, he exhumes a hidden past that tests his faith and forces him to confront his own obsessions.

Both Izzy and his friend Phil Lewis were young men in Nazi-controlled Europe. Izzy escaped, leaving behind his family, who later perished in the Holocaust. But Phil stayed to fight with partisans and become a war hero.

After the war, Izzy ends up working for Phil, who has become a successful shirt manufacturer in Toronto. Many years later, Izzy still suffers guilt because he did not remain to fight and couldn’t save his family. As well, his daughter Eva, tangled in the legacy of Phil’s good life and Izzy’s shame, struggles to understand her father and to make amends for a clandestine love affair that threatens to tear both families apart.

With great compassion and a voice that rings with authority, critically acclaimed novelist Cynthia Holz portrays the lives of two families connected through blood and loyalty, and the terrible secrets that can haunt generations. A superb tale of loss and regret, A Good Man explores the burden of history distorted by the lens of time and tells a potent story of friendship and family and how tragedy can change everything.






Semi Detached

From one of Canada’s best storytellers comes a lively and sophisticated love story about a man and a woman who decide to reinvent their long-standing relationship.

When Barbara and Elliot Rifkin agree to lead semi-separate lives, little do they know what emotional and material consequences they are about to reap. Middle-class boomers who have taken early retirement, they divide their home into two apartments, intending to live unencumbered by family and domestic duties. The rest of the clan—grandmother, son and daughter and their respective families—are appalled. Friends raise eyebrows and assume it all has to do with extramarital sex.

But Barabara and Elliot are determined to enjoy their new-found independence. When the costs of that freedom prove to be too high, an unusual series of events converge to bring about an inspired denouement to this captivating story.

Cynthia Holz writes with superb control and at the height of her powers. Poignant, absorbing and very much a tale for our times, Semi-detached is a gem of a novel.





The Other Side

The critics praised Cynthia Holz’s first novel, Onlyville, as “a rich, poetic work of literature,” “funny, moving, highly satisfying,” “luminescent” and “brimming with vivid images.” Tender and slightly wistful, The Other Side is an engaging and rewarding successor.

Holly, an actor and housecleaner, is devastated when her gay roommate, Marc, commits suicide. But even before the body is cold, Marc’s ghost takes up residence in their kitchen.

What follows is a sensitive and witty exploration of the lives of two lost souls. Even as Holly contends with her married lover and aging father, she is finding out more than she ever wanted to know about Marc. Catapulted into a confrontation with her own personal ghosts, she learns where her power truly lies.

Funny and surprising, The Other Side is a richly layered, haunting tale.






When Anna Berman leaves her boyfriend Sal in 1974 and heads for the family cottage on a small island in the Atlantic, she expects solitude, time to think and to sort out her life. But uninvited guests descend—first Sal, then her teenage niece with a flower-power friend in tow, and finally her father’s runaway girlfriend Helene. Once again Anna is drawn into a tumult of precarious relationships, drowning in the needs and desires of others.

With much wit and wisdom, Cynthia Holz illuminates Anna’s inner struggle as she fights for autonomy and insight. Onlyville is a funny and poignant novel that offers a rich vision of love, loss and discovery.





Home Again

The first publication of a new author’s work is always cause for celebration. We become part of the discovery of an exciting talent and bear witness to an exceptional voice heard for the first time.

Home Again is a powerful debut by a writer destined to be read again and again. In this new collection of ten stories, Cynthia Holz presents a rich vision of relationships among family, friends and strangers, of passion and marriage, loss and rediscovery. At their heart these are stories about love, the way it is nurtured and protected as well as stifled. With grace and great sympathy, Cynthia Holz offers each of us a mirror, making us a part of the characters in this luminous collection, mysteriously making their loves as well as their losses a part of our daily lives.