The Good Husband

Godwin, Gail

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Novel

Annotated by:
Stanford, Ann Folwell
  • Date of entry: Nov-25-1998


Magda Danvers, the brilliant English professor and scholar of Blake, is dying of cancer, "the Great Uncouth . . . my final teacher." The novel tracks the course of her illness and her husband, Francis's (who is a former Roman Catholic seminarian) untiring care of her until the end. In addition, the deteriorating marriage of Alice (who has just suffered a miscarriage) and the novelist Hugo Henry is examined alongside of Magda's and Francis's as Alice befriends Magda and Francis throughout the final course of Magda's illness.


The novel offers a rich perspective on the individual process of dying, and the myriad ways friends and family have of coping with it. Francis Lake is an exemplary caregiver, one that Magda comes to despise toward the end of her life. Alice Hugo, in her own pain, becomes a trusted friend to both Magda and Francis. The novel complicates stereotypes of caregiving, friendship, love, and dying.



Place Published

New York



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