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All Is Beauty Now

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  239 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
From a breathtakingly mature new voice in Canadian fiction comes an exquisite debut novel of family secrets, divided loyalties, and what we’re willing to do to save ourselves, set against the seductive world of 1960s Rio de Janeiro.

Set in 1963 Rio, Brazil, this mesmerizing first novel follows a glamorous and long-privileged family as they prepare to leave the seeming parad
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by McClelland & Stewart (first published August 15th 2017)
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Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
With luscious stylistic prose, Sarah Faber, unwinds the truth behind the mystery of when Luiza- oldest daughter of the Maurer family - disappears in broad daylight after walking into the water at a crowded beach in Brazil in 1962.
I was curious as to why *1962*. I’m still not sure of the years significance, but I did learn that Brazil defeated Czechoslovakia 3 to 1 win in the 1962 FIFA World Cup final in Chile and wins its 2nd FIFA World Cup.

“All is Beautiful”.....
Is told from the perspective ta
Diane S ☔
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Rio, 1963, a privileged family, trying to deal with the father's worsening mood swings, their declining fortune, a move to Canada, where there is hope for better and cheaper treatment, is brought to their knees by the disappearance of their eldest daughter. Luiza, a strong swimmer, is at the beach with her two younger sisters, when she decides to go for a swim, a swim from which she does not return.

Narrowly focused, we see the detrimental effects of not only mental illness on the family, but the
Amy Stuart
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this gorgeous novel. I can't remember the last time I read a book where every page had a turn of phrase that took my breath away. And alongside that are a plot and a cast of characters that will stay with you long after you've finished reading. Not to be missed. I would not be surprised if this novel cleaned up once awards season rolls around.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can also find this review at

Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Devastating and beautiful. Reading this book felt like lifting a curtain on a chaotic family dynamic, pulled into the dazzling contact highs and dark, chaotic lows that drag you under.  The lush, Brazilian setting perfectly mirrors the family's story: the bright, colorful and lively energy followed by the dark seas of depression.  

All Is Beauty Now te
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how to describe this beautiful, beautiful book. The prose is so lush, the inner thoughts of the characters so intense, it really was exhausting, but in a wonderful way.
The story is simple enough: a wealthy family in Brazil must navigate the rough waters of the father's bipolar mental illness, while planning a move to Canada for better health care. The wife and three daughters are all in his thrall to some extent, but the oldest daughter Luiza suffers the most, having been designated
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog:
If she didn’t have to be his echo. What would it be like if she wasn’t tethered to him, always calculating his distance from earth’s flat surfaces, predicting when he might next wheel away or plummet. Then retrieving him, reviving him.

This is a heartbreaking story, as a family decides to leave the lush freedom of Brazil in the 1960’s for the restricting skin of Canada after the drowning of their eldest daughter, each family member unravels. With
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, first-reads
Won in the First Reads giveaway.

Very well written and complex characters. My favourite chapters were from Evie's POV and the descriptions of Carnival were very good. I will admit, I wouldn't have signed up for the book if I had known it was about white Brazilians. I didn't even know about the Confederados thing, that's messed up.

I think some more humour could have been injected into the story. Not to lighten up, but to humanize the characters more. Luiza's chapters were a bit of a slog at first,
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Goodreads Giveaway
Well written, suspenseful, excellent sense of time and place, good family dynamics. Some readers might find the mystery plot line a little frustrating, because of the time spent on place and characterization, but those are the things I look for so had no problem with it. I do have one big question about the way things went that accounts for the missing star, but am not going to give it away.
Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
I had a free copy of this book for an honest review. This book is set in the early 1960's in Brazil. Hugo, the patriarch of the family suffers from bipolar disorder. Since this takes place in the 1960's there are fewer treatments and a lack of understanding for this condition and that plays a factor in the book. It seems like every character in this book could use some sort of therapy for psychiatric conditions. I found I couldn't really like any of the characters. The family had so much dysfunc ...more
Kelsi H
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Please read all of my reviews at!

In this debut novel by Canadian author Sarah Faber, the setting is the lush and vibrant landscape of 1960s Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From the glamorous wealth of the Copacabana Club to the squalor of the neighbouring fishing villages, the contradictions of Brazil come brilliantly to life. The novel follows the privileged Maurer family as they prepare to leave sunny Rio for the cooler climate of Canada. However, as the date of depa
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I love to read all kinds of books, but one of my favourites in novels that take me to another time and place; the kind of novels where you actually almost forget that you're reading printed words on a page, because everything on that page is written so vividly (and so well) that it's more like watching a movie unfold in your mind than reading words on a paper. That's what this book was like. It took me to Brazil, it introduced me to a family of so-real-they-come-to-life characters, and it was a ...more
Doreen Ashbrook
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written story of a family steeped in darkness, dysfunction and madness. The family consists of a mother, father and three daughters. Told from first perso9n perspectives after the eldest daughter goes missing as the family is preparing to leave Brazil for Canada. Ms. Faber's writing is truly poetic - the story though is very dark.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I felt like it took me forever to read this book. I could usually blow through 350 pages in a few days but this took me a whole week! It wasn't a struggle to read in any way but it's just so dense, both the writing and the story, that I read really slowly and only got through 50 pages a day. I guess I needed time to digest. It's beautifully written and I'm surprised this is the author's debut novel because it seems very mature and accomplished. The story was fascinating and completely engaging. ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, did-not-finish
DNF at 67%

I won an ARC of this book through a Goodreads contest and I was so excited to read this book, I picked it up the day it was delivered. As interesting as the synopsis sounded, it did not take me long to realize that there was something about this story that wasn't gripping me. It's not that I hated it, but I was hoping for so much more than it gave me. I take great pains to think that I am putting down this book not having finished it but I just do not feel invested in the story or char
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
A family's coping with a daughter/sister disappearance. Sometimes read as a little drawn out.
Kate Olson
Thanks to Little Brown for the free review copy - all opinions are my own.

The lush setting and provocative premise made this an enjoyable read, although it was a little too slow-paced and description-laden for my current reading mood. If you like family intrigue in an exotic setting and a great deal of rumination, flashback and adjectives, this one is for you.
Christina McLain
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Those this novel is very well-written, I found it to be very unsatisfying. I suppose the novel can be seen as a sensitive exploration of the damage done to a family by a father's madness but it just seemed over-the-top to me and so damned lyrical, it was annoying. I really hated the parents especially the father though I realize he was mentally ill and it was a different era when medication wasn't as sophisticated or widely used as today. But as for me,I would have left the guy no matter how int ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
At once beautiful and devastating we are swept into the captivating setting of Rio de Janiero in the 1960s, when tragedy bores its way into a wealthy family. Luiza, the eldest of three daughters takes her sisters to the crowded beach on a beautiful day. A strong swimmer, she is seen swimming far out into the ocean, and then not seen again. As we delve into the events prior to and post Luiza’s disappearance and presumed drowning we are invited into the secret thoughts of Luiza’s family members, e ...more
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mental illness is dealt with differently today than it was during the early sixties, which is the setting for this novel. The family tries to hide the disease from one and all. While seeking treatment on a different continent, the family sacrifices much to help the afflicted family member. We are introduced to several stressful situations that have an effect on both the adults and children in different ways. Through it all the theme of a mother's love and faith in her loved ones never waivers. T ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous prose that left me in Brazil. A book to savor. Thoroughly enjoyed the journey.
Wendy Kravetz
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book! I have now passed it on for others to read .

Thank You
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young woman, Luiza,  walks into the water at a sunny beach in Brazil in 1962. She disappears and no body was found and she is presumed drowned, washed out to sea. A year later, her family is still reeling from the apparent drowning and has decided to move their family back to Canada because the father, Hugo, a Canadian citizen, needs medical treatment and it's free in Canada. As they prepare, pack and spend time with friends, the story digs into the family,  their background and  personalities ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Goodreads and Penguin Random House Canada for a free copy of this book.
I was surprised to find out that All Is Beauty Now is Sarah Faber's first novel. It is so beautifully written with such careful detail to setting and characterization. Set in the 1960's in Brazil, it tells the story of a dysfunctional family dealing with mental illness and with the presumed drowning of the oldest child.
Faber reminds me of a literary Patricia Highsmith, as she has captured the mood of the 60's, the
Leslie Anderson
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the characterization in this novel. Each person was uniquely believable. Although sometimes they could articulate feelings and ideas in ways most people can't, they were all relatable in some way or another. That being said, it took some getting used to with the set up of narration and chapters. While each chapter lets you into the thoughts of a different character, it is still 3rd person.
My favorite part of the novel would be how well planned and thought out it was. Each detai
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: goodreads-win
Goodreads Win

A young girl is thought to die in the water but her body has not been found. It has been a year as the family still mourns and on her death figurative her despite no physical body. Is she really dead?

The family still is dealing with their loss as they get ready to migrate to Canada as originally planned beforehand. Each member of the family has their own perspective as the family dynamics are crumbling and secrets will start to unravel.

A telling tale of how fragile family dynamics
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautifully written story about a family of 5, who unexpectedly become a family of 4 upon the presumed drowning of the eldest daughter Luiza. While grieving and trying to understand what happened to Luiza, deep rooted family secrets are uncovered. This story is told through the eyes of all 5 family members, the secrets they've discovered, and how they cope with them. An absolute beauty of a book.
If memory serves correct it was Lili Wright's Dancing With the Tiger in which I expounded upon the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" cliche; that novel never did live up to its striking cover art, and in fact few ever do (save for Stephen Florida or A Little Life). Yet I found myself intrigued by Sarah Faber's debut, All is Beauty Now, for the entirely same superficial reasons: the cover, yes, but even the title and description of the novel itself. Suffice to say I could've removed the jac ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written novel about a family in 1960s Rio de Janeiro, affected by the father's mental illness. As the novel opens the eldest daughter, twenty year old Luiza, has vanished, swum out to sea and not returned. The family has long struggled with the dramatic mood swings of father Hugo (who appears to have bipolar disorder), and further fractures threaten under the strain of Luiza's disappearance. The tone is introspective and compelling.
Louise Blais
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of this book through Goodreads. I found the beginning a bit slow but kept on reading and really got into it as I got to know the family better. I am so amazed at Dora and her determination to get help for her husband who keeps spiralling out of control. Every family member has their own problems but do not communicate their feelings !!! What a confused family they are. I hope that they find themselves in Canada.
Susie James
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy of this amazingly conceived and written novel by Sarah Faber via Goodreads. "All is Beauty Now" a story of a family with roots in Canada and the Southern United States of another century, growing and flowering in the lush ground of Brazil. Its descriptions of a family's grief and devastation after the disappearance of the eldest child are tangled, yet clear as one reads the individual sections as Faber writes them. The telling of the father's mental illness through the years leading ...more
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