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Good Company by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Contemporary fiction

Good Company

by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

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Quick take

This tender exploration of the true meaning of "for better or worse" follows one couple at a fork in their marriage.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MarriageIssues

    Marriage issues

Synopsis

Flora Mancini has been happily married for more than twenty years. But everything she thought she knew about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with her best friend, Margot, is upended when she stumbles upon an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring—the one he claimed he lost one summer when their daughter, Ruby, was five.

Flora and Julian struggled for years, scraping together just enough acting work to raise Ruby in Manhattan and keep Julian’s small theater company—Good Company—afloat. A move to Los Angeles brought their first real career successes, a chance to breathe easier, and a reunion with Margot, now a bona fide television star. But has their new life been built on lies? What happened that summer all those years ago? And what happens now?

With Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s signature tenderness, humor, and insight, Good Company tells a bighearted story of the lifelong relationships that both wound and heal us.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Good Company.
Good Company

One

Flora wasn’t looking for the ring when she found it. She was rooting around an old file cabinet in the garage, searching for a photograph from the summer Ruby was five, thirteen years ago. Long years? Short? Both, depending on how she thought about them. Flora had woken up thinking about the photo and she knew it had to be somewhere in the house. The photo had moved from the ugly brown refrigerator door in Greenwich Village to an even uglier brown refrigerator door in Los Angeles (“How do two people on opposite coasts whose houses we are eventually going to live in both choose brown refrigerators?” she’d asked Julian) until ugly refrigerator number two shuddered its last breath one August morning and they’d replaced it with a new one that was fancier and stainless steel and wouldn’t hold a magnet. She’d moved the photo to a bulletin board in the small enclosed sun porch they called “the office,” but the edges started to curl and so she’d put it in a drawer, safe from the ravages of time and the relentless attention of the California sun. She’d cleaned out all those drawers a couple of years ago, right after she got the part voicing Leona the saucy lioness on the animated show Griffith and they’d turned “the office” into “the studio,” a place she could record her voice-over work at home when she wanted. Where had she put all the stuff from those drawers? She would never throw away a photograph, but especially not that one.

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Why I love it

As I read Good Company, I kept thinking about that split-screen scene in (500) Days of Summer: the one that juxtaposes Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character’s expectations with reality. So sure of the story he’s telling himself about his life—and the woman he idolizes—he’s blindsided when the events that unfold are different from what he imagined. Eventually he’s left to wonder if his understanding of his relationship, and the light in which he’s cast it, might not be entirely accurate.

Good Company’s Flora can relate. It’s been decades since she and her husband, Julian, said “I do.” As struggling actors, they spent years barely getting by in NYC before reluctantly trading in their gritty city life for an easier existence in LA. With steadier work and proximity to Flora’s best friend, Margot, all seems to be well in the world of Flora and Julian’s marriage. That is, until Flora finds Julian’s old wedding ring hidden inside a drawer—the ring he swore he lost a long time ago when it fell off while he was swimming. What else has he been lying about?

Moving between past and present, Good Company is a story of what happens when the narratives we’ve built our lives around begin to unravel. It’s an exploration of two marriages, imperfect in their own ways, and the roles its characters play not just on the stage, but off: as parents, lovers, friends, adversaries. Read to find out what exactly Julian’s been hiding all these years, but also read for Sweeney’s unvarnished, empathetic look at what happens when the pathways we’ve taken don’t land us exactly where we’d envisioned.

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Member ratings (3,026)

  • Ashley-Kate S.

    Miami, FL

    I adored “The Nest” and possibly “Good Company” even more. Sweeney has a way of developing complex adult characters with realistic problems and relationship challenges. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  • Marta P.

    Middle Village, NY

    I love books that delve into the complex dynamics of relationships like those in Good Company. People are imperfect and can disappoint, but we can forgive, that’s what second chances afford us. 5⭐️.

  • Joy M.

    Yardley, PA

    I found this book to be utterly fabulous & a great story!! I loved “The Nest”, so I was really looking forward to reading this one too. If you only read one book this year make it “Good Company”

  • Jessica B.

    Bloomsburg, PA

    Quietly moving portrait of artists & their relationships. Love that thus book showed that a romantic partner and a best friend can be equally important in someone’s life. Often surprisingly beautiful.

  • Kristy W.

    Denver, CO

    Good Company had me page-turning til the end. The characters (L.A. actors) could have been off-putting but instead were endearing as it explores the relationships of marriage, friendship & parenthood.

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