The Art of Being Lewis

A middle-aged coming-of-age story about the journeys we take to become ourselves …

East Coast architect Lewis Morton thought he had it all: loving wife and children, dream job, and a house that meets his exacting architectural standards. But after his beloved mentor dies in suspicious circumstances and Lewis gets pulled into a lawsuit that threatens to destroy his career and possibly his life, the respectable identity he has carefully constructed for himself after fleeing his unconventional childhood begins to disintegrate. In trying to build his new future he must first come to terms with his past.

Who is Lewis Morton, and who will he choose to become?


Release of The New Spice Box: Contemporary Jewish Writing:

Two of my poems, “Heritage” and “Isaac,” appear in this beautiful anthology released this October. Edited by Ruth Panofsky.

Award nominations:

The Art of Being Lewis was long-listed for the 2020 Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. It was a lovely, light bit of recognition for a serious book that features a number of darkly comic and uncomfortable moments.

Lewis is also short-listed for the 2020 Nancy Richler Memorial Prize for Fiction.

Upcoming events:

I will be speaking about The Art of Being Lewis at a Zoom event hosted by the Shaar Shalom Congregation in Halifax and the Atlantic Jewish Council on the evening of December 3, 2020. You can register here.

Upcoming novel:

I recently delivered the manuscript of my next novel. It’s a story about the eternal human need to feel like we belong.

This novel will be the third and final one in the very loosely connected “Montreal Trilogy,” which follows the coming of age of three characters as they grow into themselves. The first two books are Sons and Fathers and The Art of Being Lewis.

I will provide more information about the book on this page as we approach its release date.

Reading and writing during novel coronavirus:

You can read my recent essay on reading and writing during this time of pandemic, in the Literary Review of Canada: “A Novel Situation.”


Thanks to the Toronto-area book club that recently invited me to join their discussion on The Art of Being Lewis via Zoom. Members had a number of great questions, including:

Did Drescher really know what he was doing when he drove at full-speed down Fox Farm Road? Did Miriam have any idea of what was in the pocket of one of the suits she gave Lewis? And there was much conversation about the calamitous scene in the riverfront park that poses so many problems for Lewis, as well as the climactic scene in the art gallery.

Latest blog post:

You can read my latest blog post, or “bloem” as I prefer to call it. It’s a poem called “Words to a Young Writer Just Starting Out.”

Praise for The Art of Being Lewis

“A literary page-turner with profound insight into the stories we make our own.”

– Atlantic Books Today

“The novel’s cast of characters is sketched with care, down to the cut of their suit, the confidence expressed in their stance, the set of their expression in an awkward social setting. In its attention to detail The Art of Being Lewis is a contemporary version of the novel of manners by Jane Austen or George Eliot. Goodwin shifts the focus from a female central figure toward male customs, character and behaviour.”

– Norman Raavin, Canadian Jewish News

An “affecting” book that shows how “defining yourself isn’t something you do once and for all in early adulthood, but is an ongoing art.”

– Elizabeth McCausland, Event Magazine

“Daniel Goodwin’s The Art of Being Lewis is a smart, funny and warmhearted novel in the spirit and lineage of Mordecai Richler.”

– David Bezmozgis, author of The Betrayers and Natasha and Other Stories

“Daniel Goodwin’s poetry and novels are always filled with deep insights into the confused state of modern masculinity. The Art of Being Lewis is his best work so far: a sad, hilarious, philosophical novel that blends fine writing and forward momentum. You will think about Lewis, his humiliations and regular triumphs, before falling asleep at night (if you can stop to turn out the light).”

– Todd Babiak, author of Come Barbarians and Son of France

“Imagine if, one fine day, your meticulously structured world fell apart. For Lewis Morton, a successful architect, it’s as if one of his buildings has collapsed over his head, burying in the rubble his sense of purpose and even his sanity. In this insightful, well-crafted and warm-hearted novel, Daniel Goodwin shows us that the materials upon which we build our lives should include the tricky yet essential blend of steel and imagination. This is that essential story of how to build a house that can properly be called a home.”

– David Layton, author of The Dictator

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Last but certainly not least, I hope you are staying healthy and safe during this time.

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