No Good Asking: a Novel

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Ellie and Eric Nyland have moved their two sons back to Eric’s childhood farmhouse, hoping for a fresh start. But there’s no denying it, their family is falling apart, each one of them isolated by private sorrows, stresses, and missed signals. With every passing day, Ellie’s hopes are buried deeper in the harsh winter snows.

When Eric finds Hannah Finch, the girl across the road, wandering alone in the bitter cold, his rusty police instincts kick in, and he soon discovers there are bad things happening in the girl’s house. With nowhere else to send her, the Nylands reluctantly agree to let Hannah stay with them until she can find a new home after the Christmas holidays. But Hannah proves to be more balm than burden, and the Nylands discover that the only thing harder than taking Hannah in may be letting her go. 

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ISBN 978-1-77041-438-9
ECW Press, Toronto
October, 2018


Quietly powerful . . . In less careful hands, this story could have come across as sentimental or melodramatic; instead, it takes shape as a guardedly hopeful tale of resilience. —Kirkus Reviews

Kimmel's novel has only a few characters, but they all possess presence and depth and experience honest changes. — Library Journal, starred review

Kimmel’s writing is lovely and exact. What I most enjoyed about this book is how the setting became a character in and of itself. No Good Asking absolutely nails the sense of isolation and doom, coupled with the timeless, otherworldly quality of a week spent “snowed in”. The storm here is both literal and figurative, a constant threat lurking just outside the door with no clear end in sight. —

Moving . . . The seemingly mundane scenes—a family dinner, for example—are the most powerful in the story and demonstrate our capacity to heal one another through compassion and kindness. —Canadian Living

No Good Asking is a beautifully written story about kindness and its power to transform and heal. Kindness is something the world needs more of these day. . . A beautiful book. —Bibliophile by the Sea

Key to everything are the flawed but lovable characters Kimmel crafts with near-perfection. —

Quiet and honest, No Good Asking is deeply rooted in western community, and in the small virtues that have large significance for people’s daily lives. With grace and clarity, Fran Kimmel shows how the ordinary milk of human kindness, given the minor catalyst of a child’s despair, can generate new life.
– Marina Endicott, author of Good to a Fault

The humanity in Kimmel’s No Good Asking is as big as the hearts of her arresting characters. In genuine, unaffected prose, this story builds from the first page to its satiating finale. The beauty of Fran Kimmel’s second novel lies deep within the beating hearts of her imperfect characters in an achingly good story. This book has nowhere to go but up. —Lee Kvern, author of 7 Ways to Sunday

Intimate and arresting, honest and profound. From one of Canada’s finest voices in fiction, No Good Asking is a soaring read that explores the messy bonds of family life with humanity and heart.
—Ali Bryan, award-winning author of Roost and The Figgs

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