The most enchanting novel you’ll read this year, from the acclaimed author of Man Booker-longlisted History of the Rain
Change is coming to Faha, a small Irish parish unaltered in a thousand years.
For one thing, the rain is stopping. Nobody remembers when it started; rain on the western seaboard is a condition of living. But now – just as Father Coffey proclaims the coming of the electricity – the rain clouds are lifting. Seventeen-year-old Noel Crowe is idling in the unexpected sunshine when Christy makes his first entrance into Faha, bringing secrets for which he needs to atone. Though he can’t explain it, Noel knows right then: something has changed.
As the people of Faha anticipate the endlessly procrastinated advent of the electricity, and Noel navigates his own coming-of-age and his fallings in and out of love, Christy’s past gradually comes to light, casting a new glow on a small world.
Harking back to a simpler time, This Is Happiness is a tender portrait of a community – its idiosyncrasies and traditions, its paradoxes and kindnesses, its failures and triumphs – and a coming-of-age tale like no other. Luminous and lyrical, yet anchored by roots running deep into the earthy and everyday, it is about the power of stories: their invisible currents that run through all we do, writing and rewriting us, and the transforming light that they throw onto our world.
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 (Alexander Larman 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 (Isabel Berwick 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 (Caroline Jackson Country Life)
A surge of language, beautiful and enchanting, a novel that weaves a love of literature into its own moving tale (Praise for ‘History of the Rain’ Guardian)
Extremely moving, poignantly capturing Ruth’s doomed childhood relationship with her twin brother. By the final chapter I was weeping (Praise for ‘History of the Rain’ 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 (Praise for ‘History of the Rain’ Daily Telegraph)
A delicate and graceful love story that is also an exaltation of love itself . . . A luminously written, magical work of fiction (Praise for ‘Four Letters of Love’ New York Times Book Review)
PUBLICATION DATE: 5 September 2019