One of our all-time favourite books.
Weaving family relationships and politics during and after the Facist years, Natalia Ginzberg is a must read author.
'Happiness, as such" is an epistolary novel largely narrated by a strong matriarchal character whose voice resonates with comedic absurdity through deep upheavals.
Michele is the beloved only son of a large, dysfunctional family in 1970s Italy. Headstrong and independent, he has disappeared to London without explanation. Back in Italy, his father lies dying. Michele’s departure sets forth a series of events that will bring together everyone in his life – his mother Adriana, living in the countryside with her two twin daughters Bebetta and Nannetta, his long-suffering sister Angelica, his loyal and sad friend Osvaldo, and Mara, a young woman who is prone to showing up on doorsteps with a baby that may or may not be Michele’s.
The story of the Prodigal Son turned on its head, Happiness, As Such is a short, absurdly funny novel-in-letters about complicated families and missed connections.
‘Ginzburg gives us a new template for the female voice and an idea of what it might sound like.’ – Rachel Cusk
‘These books snare so much of what is odd and lovely and fleeting in the world. It is work that saved and sustained the writer after unimaginable loss. It buoys us up, too.’ – Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
‘Her prose style is deceptively simple and very complex. Its effect on the reader is both calming and thrilling – that’s not so easy to do.’ – Deborah Levy
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