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BookBrowse Reviews This Is Happiness by Niall Williams

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This Is Happiness

by Niall Williams

This Is Happiness by Niall Williams X
This Is Happiness by Niall Williams
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  • Published:
    Dec 2019, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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In Niall Williams's keenly observed, lyrical novel, a long-dormant love story is revived against the backdrop of rural electrification in Ireland.

Niall Williams's This Is Happiness offers an extraordinary portrait of a particular moment in the history of one small corner of Ireland. The novel begins in the late 1950s, as several remarkable events converge in the tiny town of Faha, in County Kerry. Just as the townspeople are preparing for the sacred observations of Holy Week, two things happen simultaneously: a man named Christy arrives to start laying cable that will connect Faha to Ireland's slowly expanding electrical grid (see Beyond the Book) and it stops raining. The second fact here seems, to the novel's narrator, more of a wonder than electric lights; rain is such a constant in this part of Ireland that life without it seems like a different set of possibilities: "In Faha your clothes were rain and your skin was rain and your house was rain with a fireplace."

To 17-year-old Noel (Noe) Crowe, who has recently arrived in ...

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