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.
“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
“Glorious and lyrical prose . . . This novel is a delight.” ―Publishers Weekly
“A surge of language, beautiful and enchanting, a novel that weaves a love of literature into its own moving tale.” ―The Guardian, on HISTORY OF THE RAIN
Niall Williams was born in Dublin in 1958. He studied English and French literature at University College Dublin before graduating with a Master's degree in Modern American Literature. He moved to New York in 1980 where he married Christine Breen, whom he had met while she was a Master's student also at UCD, and took his first job opening boxes of books in Fox and Sutherland's bookshop in Mount Kisco. He later worked as a copywriter for Avon Books in New York City before leaving America with Chris in 1985 to attempt to make a life as a writer. They moved on April 1st to the cottage in west Clare that Chris's grandfather had left eighty years before to find his life in America. His first four books were co-written with Chris and tell of their life together in Kiltumper in west Clare. In 1991 Niall's first play 'The Murphy Initiative' was staged at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. His second play, 'A Little Like Paradise' was produced on the Peacock stage of The Abbey Theatre in 1995. His third play, 'The Way You Look Tonight,' was produced by Galway's Druid Theatre Company in 1999.