‘A beautiful, wry love story’ David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY
‘I love this woman’s writing. Golden sentences’ Diana Evans, author of ORDINARY PEOPLE
‘One of the year’s most beautifully written books, THIS HAPPY traces the path to womanhood of Alannah from disastrous affair to no-less-comfortable marriage and beyond’ The i, Best Books of 2020 So Far
‘If you loved Sally Rooney’s NORMAL PEOPLE, read this novel … Darkly romantic … Reminiscent of Eimear McBride’s lyrical Joycean sentences’ Vogue
‘The best novel I have read all year’ Sunday Business Post
I have taken apart every panel of this, like an ornamental fan. But we stayed in the cottage for three weeks only, just three weeks, because it was cut short you see – cut short after just three weeks, when I’d left my entire life behind.
When Alannah was twenty-three, she met a man who was older than her – a married man – and fell in love. Things happened suddenly. They met in April, in the first bit of mild weather; and in August, they went to stay in rural Ireland, overseen by the cottage’s landlady.
Six years later, when Alannah is newly married to another man, she sees the landlady from afar. Memories of those days spent in bliss, then torture, return to her. And the realisation that she has been waiting – all this time – to be rediscovered.
Campbell evokes vivid nostalgia with her clear-eyed prose that is a compelling combination of candid and droll * BOOK RIOT, Best Books of Summer 2020 * There are impressively toe-curling set pieces detailing awkward encounters between families... Campbell's language is striking -- John Self * The Spectator * An intense, evocative read * Irish Country Magazine * The novel gets its energy from the sour kick to its intelligently disaffected narration, as Campbell pins down fleeting impressions from a life textured by memory * Daily Mail * We are offered a dazzling array of thoughts on the mute choreography of human relationships, the piercing solitude of romantic endeavour, the "melancholy and longing" that overtakes middle-aged men (a condition "they always believe to be original"), and the unbidden arrival of the truth of our once-mysterious behaviour... Campbell leads us to these insights with freshness and resonance... Such evocative prose ... The ghosts of our past might refuse to go away. But, as this book so stirringly shows, you can write them into edifying life * The i * Superb... a powerful exploration of sex, relationships, and the past's influence on the present ... The brutally honest examination of Alannah's flawed motivations will no doubt lead to comparisons between Campbell and fellow young Irish writers Naoise Dolan and Sally Rooney * Hot Press * Beautiful, strange and wholly new, Niamh Campbell's novel is the real deal -- Elanor Dymott, author of EVERY CONTACT LEAVES A TRACE This is an exquisite thing. A book beautiful with real, lived-in feelings and blustery living weather. It's profoundly atmospheric, and a brilliant treatise on memory, the fleeting movement of time and the fluid dynamics of romantic relationships. It feels at once forensic and yet deeply passionate, detached and yet profoundly moving. It's wry as fuck. It provokes the awed re-reading of sentences and paragraphs, over and over -- Danny Denton, author of THE EARLIE KING AND THE KID IN YELLOW Campbell writes romantic ambivalence and sexual risk with a sharpness that begs belief. Reading this razorblade of a debut I often laughed out loud-more often still shivered with recognition. A hot, ripe portrait of the recent shifts in Ireland and what it means to be a woman inside it -- Sue Rainsford, author of FOLLOW ME TO GROUND The story of this relationship is interweaved with the present so closely that it feels almost overlaid, reading convincingly like a memory ... An exhilarating story * The Sunday Times * A triumph of style... This book is made of ancient stuff. It is of the land and the landscape - replete with unashamedly ornate, arguably extraneous detail... She writes against the style du jour - sparse prose; tight, fast plots - in favour of something more rich and rebellious ... I heard tones of Joyce as I read - not only in the direct references ("the snot-green sea", Alannah's remark: 'he was my epiphany') - but also in the muscular, myth-laden prose... It is the best novel I have read all year. It snuck up on me like a ghost in the night. It spoke on a different frequency * Sunday Business Post * The quality of the writing is top-notch. Page after page of astute, deft observations ... Campbell holds her own against her contemporaries, writers like Claire-Louise Bennett, Sally Rooney, Nicole Flattery, who have set a high bar at home and abroad for fast-paced, truth-laced fiction ... THIS HAPPY is a layered and vibrant debut ... full of sensual, offbeat descriptions * Irish Times * She has already been compared with writers such as Eimear McBride, Ali Smith and Claire Louise Bennett, and indeed Niamh Campbell's debut novel does add a distinctive new voice to Irish literature... Witty, fiery, wistful and even shocking, with engrossing heady prose, Campbell's style is unique * Irish Independent * Superb... This is a novel of psychological texture... Campbell can turn a sensory phrase... its opulent unhappiness is something to enjoy * The Sunday Telegraph * If you loved Sally Rooney's NORMAL PEOPLE, read this novel ... Darkly romantic ... The moral ambiguities (and irreconcilable power struggles) inherent in the relationship are familiar territory for fans of CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS, but in many ways, the prose is less reminiscent of Rooney's clipped, email-honed style than of Eimear McBride's lyrical Joycean sentences * Vogue * One of the year's most beautifully written books, THIS HAPPY traces the path to womanhood of Alannah from disastrous affair to no-less-comfortable marriage and beyond * The i, Best Books of 2020 So Far * I love this woman's writing. Golden sentences -- Diana Evans, author of ORDINARY PEOPLE A beautiful, wry love story -- David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY
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