This Is Happiness: Book summary and reviews of This Is Happiness by Niall Williams

This Is Happiness

by Niall Williams

This Is Happiness by Niall Williams X
This Is Happiness by Niall Williams
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2019
    400 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

A profound and enchanting new novel from Booker Prize-longlisted author Niall Williams about the loves of our lives and the joys of reminiscing.

You don't see rain stop, but you sense it. You sense something has changed in the frequency you've been living and you hear the quietness you thought was silence get quieter still, and you raise your head so your eyes can make sense of what your ears have already told you, which at first is only: something has changed.

The rain is stopping. Nobody in the small, forgotten village of Faha remembers when it started; rain on the western seaboard was a condition of living. Now--just as Father Coffey proclaims the coming of electricity--it is stopping. Seventeen-year-old Noel Crowe is standing outside his grandparents' house shortly after the rain has stopped when he encounters Christy for the first time. Though he can't explain it, Noel knows right then: something has changed.

This is the story of all that was to follow: Christy's long-lost love and why he had come to Faha, Noel's own experiences falling in and out of love, and the endlessly postponed arrival of electricity--a development that, once complete, would leave behind a world that had not changed for centuries.

Niall Williams' latest novel is an intricately observed portrait of a community, its idiosyncrasies and its traditions, its paradoxes and its inanities, its failures and its triumphs. Luminous and otherworldly, and yet anchored with deep-running roots into the earthy and the everyday, This Is Happiness is about stories as the very stuff of life: the ways they make the texture and matter of our world, and the ways they write and rewrite us.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Warm and whimsical, sometimes sorrowful, but always expressed in curlicues of Irish lyricism, this charming book makes varied use of its electrical metaphor, not least to express the flickering pulse of humanity. A story both little and large and one that pulls out all the Irish stops." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"With a beckoning gentleness that belies the deeper philosophies at play, superb Irish author Williams offers a lilting, magical homage to time and redemption, and a stirring, sentimental journey into the mysteries of love and the possibilities of friendship." - Booklist (starred review)

"In glorious and lyrical prose, Williams spins the tale of one 1958 season in the village of Faha, County Kerry. Noe's reminiscences of that period are full of beauty and hard-won wisdom. This novel is a delight." - Publishers Weekly

"Admirers of Niall Williams' Booker longlisted History of the Rain will not be disappointed to learn that his latest novel is possibly even better." - The Observer (UK)

"A kind of tectonic movement from spring into summer, marked by the rhythms of village life...[Williams] has a humorist's eye, and his own fond amusement at the people he writes about shines out through the writing." - The Guardian (UK)

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Author Information

Niall Williams

Niall Williams was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of nine novels including History of the Rain and Four Letters of Love, for which he has recently completed the screenplay. He lives in Kiltumper in County Clare.

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