The Cooke Agency

John Gould
Seven Good Reasons Not to Be Good

Seven Good Reasons Not to Be Good by John GouldSeven Good Reasons Not to Be Good opens with a cryptic postcard from forty-something Matt to his oldest friend, Zane. Zane is dying—for “good”—but Matt’s heading home to talk him out of it. Matt’s keen to make contact with his father too, before the old man disappears into the colourful world of his dementia, with its aliens and their crop-circle messages. With Matt’s marriage in tatters (he’s been cuckolded by the neighbourhood barista) and his career as a movie critic gone sideways, it’s clearly time for this trip from Vancouver to Toronto—so he can save his friend, wave off his dad, and maybe find something of himself he lost long ago.

In Seven Good Reasons Not to Be Good, John Gould treats mortality, morality, and modernity with equal parts empathy and wit in the manner of Jonathan Lethem and Zadie Smith. His prose dazzles even as it reveals this novel’s complex heart: the imperfect art of letting go.

“There is a complex plot at the heart of Seven Good Reasons Not To Be Good, but Gould has filled the pages with such familiar-feeling characters that the story flows along almost effortlessly. Sex and death, life and love; some pretty heavy themes that could have easily become dark or overly sentimental yet Gould offers up just enough wit to keep the mood light, though the issues remain real. By the end of the novel, Gould has done a masterful job of reminding the reader that there is a whole lot in life that you have no real control over but what is important is to remember that life is happening, here, now.” —Times Colonist (Victoria)

Length: 304 pp
Setting: Canada
Period: contemporary

Canadian rights, HarperCollins Canada

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.

John Gould
photo credit: Sandy Mayzell

John Gould is the author of two books of very short stories, most recently Kilter, which was a finalist for the Giller Prize and a Globe and Mail Best Book. His fiction has appeared in literary periodicals across the country and has been adapted for short films. He has written freelance non-fiction and has worked as an environmental researcher, tree planter, carpenter and arts administrator. He teaches in the writing department at the University of Victoria and serves on the editorial board of The Malahat Review.

John Gould’s website can be found at


  • Kilter