Happiness Book Cover Happiness
Aminatta Forna
Grove Atlantic
In store now!

Attila Ansare is an eminent psychiatrist, an authority on traumatic stress. He is in London for a conference, at which he is to deliver the keynote speech. While he is in London he will try to discover why his niece, who lives in an apartment with her son,  has not called home for a while.

Jean Turane is an American, in England after a broken marriage, working in London conducting a study of urban wildlife, specifically foxes, and starting a business creating rooftop gardens. Pursuing a fox as it crossed the crowded Waterloo Bridge one evening, Jean bumps into a large man and is knocked to the ground. By the time she has righted herself and dusted herself off the fox has disappeared.

You won’t be surprised to hear that Jean and Attila will meet again, and that their lives will become connected in ways that neither of them could expect.

You will be surprised, and pleasantly so, by how much wisdom Aminatta Forna has managed to pack into this immensely satisfying and expansive novel.

Attila will miss most of the conference he is in London to attend. Jean’s irregular army of fox-spotters will be given a new challenge, and she herself will be thrust unexpectedly into a public role.  Obstacles abound.

This is a book about care, and about caring in all its manifestations, with all its ramifications.

These are two unforgettable characters, and they are supported by a large and varied cast of secondary personalities, all immaculately rendered.  All of these characters care; it’s impossible not to care about them. This is a book about care, and about caring in all its manifestations, with all its ramifications. Caring brings responsibility. There are no short cuts in this book and no sugar-coating.

         Happiness is, nonetheless, a triumphant, exhilarating book, one of those rare novels that celebrates the human spirit and stays with the reader long after the last page has been turned.

Ben McNally
Ben reads almost anything, for the most part with an eye for the unusual, the overlooked and the underappreciated. He regularly makes presentations of current noteworthy titles to interested parties, both in the store and out.