Peyton Marshall is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the recipient of a Maytag Fellowship and the Richard Yates Award for short fiction. Her story “Bunnymoon” was published in Best New American Voices 2004. Her work has appeared in such magazines as Tin House, A Public Space, Blackbird, Etiqueta Negra, and FiveChapters. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Goodhouse is her first novel.
A bighearted dystopian novel about the corrosive effects of fear and the redemptive power of love
With soaring literary prose and the tense pacing of a thriller, the first-time novelist Peyton Marshall imagines a grim and startling future. At the end of the twenty-first century—in a transformed America—the families of convicted felons are tested for a set of genetic markers. Boys who test positive become compulsory wards of the state—removed from their homes and raised on Goodhouse campuses, where they learn to reform their darkest thoughts and impulses. Goodhouse is a feral place—part prison, part boarding school—and now a radical religious group, the Holy Redeemer’s Church of Purity, has begun to target these schools for attack, with purifying fire.
We see all this through the eyes of James, a transfer student who watched the radicals set fire to his old Goodhouse and everyone he’d ever known. In addition to entering a new school with new rules, James now has to contend with Bethany, a wild tech genius with a heart defect who wants to save him, and her father, the sinister director of medical studies. Soon, however, James realizes that the biggest threat might already be there, inside the fortified walls of Goodhouse. Partly based on the true story of the nineteenth-century Preston School of Industry and the boys who lived and died in its halls, Goodhouse explores questions of identity and free will—and what it means to test the limits of human endurance.