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Benevolence

3.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  51 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
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 bo
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by Knopf Canada (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 108)
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Phil
May 30, 2011 Phil rated it did not like it
Shelves:
i read the first two chapters of this acclaimed first nove and then read a few more and threw it back into the return now bag. nothing compelling here. nor did i like any of the characters.
Estrella
Feb 22, 2011 Estrella rated it liked it
I received this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. It was a poignant look at the metaphorical chasms that can suddenly spring up between a married couple after a few years. Ben and Renata are both psychiatrists who encounter patients that force them to take a look at themselves and where their lives have gotten to. I found the idea interesting that both Ben and Renata found themselves crossing ethical boundaries and were both worried about how the other would judge them for it...both suff ...more
Stephanie
Mar 25, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I won this book through Goodread First Reads as an ARC. I was not required to provide a review, but chose to write one regardless.

My Summary: Renata, Ben, and Molly are three people whose lives are connected, yet infinitely separated; Ben and Renata are married, and Molly is Ben's mother. Ben is a psychiatrist and Renata is a psychologist, and the couple are trying to maintain their marriage despite their hectic schedules; thought their marriage has been rife with disappointments: Re
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Sue A.
Mar 06, 2011 Sue A. rated it it was amazing
I want to start off by saying that I won this book recently in a Goodreads giveaway and, apart from an interesting blurb on the back, I really didn't know what to expect.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much I truly enjoyed reading this book! I was drawn into the lives of Dr. Ben Wasserman, and his wife, Renata Moon, right from the start. Ben is an organ transplant psychiatrist and Renata is a psychologist, but for two people who've devoted their careers to an ability and necessity bui
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Lynn
Jun 21, 2012 Lynn rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Benevolence primarily revolves around the marriage of psychiatrist Dr Ben Wasserman and his psychologist wife Renata Moon. They are at a point in their marriage where unhappiness and apathy have become to take root. They deeply crave the love they used to have for each other, but fail to communicate that to their partner. Each begins to cross professional boundaries with a patient. They keep this a secret as they know the other will disapprove.

Cynthia Holz's writing is beautiful and fluid. She
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Marilu
Mar 03, 2011 Marilu rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2011
I have never read a book by Cynthia Holz before. Honestly, I had never heard of her until I saw a giveaway for this book here on goodreads. From the description, it sounds like a book I would enjoy, so I decided to enter .
Lucky me! I won a copy! Not only that, but by entering this giveaway, I learned of Cynthia Holz, and after reading the synopsis-es of a few of her books, I have decided that I need to read something written by her! I will be on the look out for one of her books to read while I
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Pat
Jul 01, 2012 Pat rated it it was ok
This novel features Ben, a psychiatrist who assesses transplant patients/donors and his wife Renata, a psychologist who treats patients with phobias and the couple's increasingly distant marriage. Both find lessons through awkward friendships with their patients. The other supporting characters fill out the book but none are fully formed and it was hard to feel much sympathy for any of the characters. We read this for Jenny's book club and when we discussed it, I was the most generous in giving ...more
Jennifer D
Jan 04, 2016 Jennifer D rated it really liked it
This book, upon finishing, is really making me think. Initially I felt it a bit complicated. By complicated, I mean there was a lot of criss-crossing story lines and I became worried about resolutions of convenience and dangling improbabilities...but...Holz really created a strong story, layered with real life in all its ugly glory. More thinking on this will continue and I hope to add to this review,
Elizabeth Gillies
Jul 08, 2011 Elizabeth Gillies rated it liked it
This Canadian author weaves the story around the clients of husband and wife team Ben and Rebatta. He is a psychiatrist that is part of a team deciding on organ donors and she is a private psychologist. Issues in their lives are reflected and resolved with two clients as they all look at the positives and negatives of life.
Edith
Apr 26, 2011 Edith rated it liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Interesting. A little too much of an open ending for me. What will happen with Renata and Ben? Favourite character was Molly.
I didn't know this author before. Now I'm interested to read her other books.
Suzanne
Feb 11, 2011 Suzanne rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was a goodreads first read. It was not exactly what I expected and I'm still not sure if it all really came together - there were a bunch of overlapping characters, some story lines were more interesting than others.
M.A.
Nov 03, 2011 M.A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm in the middle of the novel at present, but I enjoy this author's style. The fragility of a marriage seems to be one theme. Husband and wife are both in the mental illness business.

The book was very good.
Elizabeth
Sep 09, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
If you like literary fiction, this is a good example of the genre. If you like books in which something happens and there is a point, read something else.
Ashley
Sep 05, 2013 Ashley rated it it was ok
The story was interesting, but emotionally laden and heavy. Poor choice when looking for a light read.
Book Buzz
Jul 16, 2011 Book Buzz marked it as to-read
Read of the Month for October 2011
Kathryn
Mar 18, 2012 Kathryn rated it did not like it
not a favorite
Kim
Kim marked it as to-read
Dec 22, 2015
Margaret Wilson
Margaret Wilson rated it it was ok
May 30, 2015
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gourmetkat rated it liked it
Aug 23, 2014
Chris_mishka
Chris_mishka rated it it was amazing
Jun 11, 2014
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Sarah is currently reading it
Apr 25, 2014
Vanessa
Vanessa rated it it was ok
Jan 15, 2014
Laura Bourassa
Laura Bourassa rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2013
Julie
Julie rated it it was ok
Aug 14, 2013
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Cynthia Holz is the author of five novels and a collection of short stories. She was born and raised in New York City and came to Toronto in 1976 as the Canadian correspondent for Business Week magazine.

She began publishing short stories in 1980, and since then her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Her essays and book reviews can be seen in The Globe and Mail, The Ot
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