This Is Happiness
Mr B's review
Shortlisted for Best Novel in the Irish Book Awards
Longlisted for the 2020 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
From the acclaimed author of Man Booker-longlisted History of the Rain
‘Lyrical, tender and sumptuously perceptive’ Sunday Times
‘A love letter to the sleepy, unhurried and delightfully odd Ireland that is all but gone’ Irish Independent
After dropping out of the seminary, seventeen-year-old Noel Crowe finds himself back in Faha, a small Irish parish where nothing ever changes, including the ever-falling rain.
But one morning the rain stops and news reaches the parish – the electricity is finally arriving. With it comes a lodger to Noel’s home, Christy McMahon. Though he can’t explain it, Noel knows right then: something has changed.
As Noel navigates his coming-of-age by Christy’s side, falling in and out of love, Christy’s buried past gradually comes to light, casting a glow on a small world and making it new.
Admirers of Niall Williams’s Booker-longlisted History of the Rain will not be disappointed to learn that his latest novel is possibly even better … What makes this so compelling and enjoyable is Williams’s transparent love of his characters and delight in his setting * Observer * Charming is one word for Williams’ prose. It is also life-affirming and written with a turn of phrase that makes the reader want to underline something on every page. I suggest we all buy his books, pushing him into that realm of globally fashionable Irish writers, but more importantly, sharing with a vast audience his humane and poetic world view * Financial Times * Williams has the eye of a poet and the raconteur’s knack for finding a tale in the most unpromising nook of everyday life, as a now-adult Noel, summoning the Faha of his nostalgic imagination, narrates an elegiac novel that’s careful always to offset the antic rural eccentricity with darker notes of loss * Daily Mail * This is Happiness returns to the beguiling gloom of Faha … [A] wise and redemptive novel … It dares, in addition, to be wildly comic … With his silver ear for speech and extreme attentiveness to the Heaneyesque “music of everyday”, Mr Williams treads softly on the dreams of youth and memories of old age * Country Life * A surge of language, beautiful and enchanting, a novel that weaves a love of literature into its own moving tale * Guardian * Extremely moving, poignantly capturing Ruth’s doomed childhood relationship with her twin brother. By the final chapter I was weeping * Sunday Times * Deeply allusive, infectiously hopeful … Somewhere between bildungsroman, epic and family saga, History of the Rain is an unashamedly unfashionable, lyrical paean to the pleasure of reading and to serendipity * Daily Telegraph * A delicate and graceful love story that is also an exaltation of love itself . . . A luminously written, magical work of fiction * New York Times Book Review * Lovingly written, the text is brimming with humanity, truth and humour – and then there’s the pitch perfect language, with not a word out of place … Magnificent * Irish Examiner * Sharp as a tack, bright as a button, and engorged with rich humour, this is a love letter to the sleepy, unhurried and delightfully odd Ireland that is all but gone * Irish Independent *
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