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Publisher's Summary

Change is coming to Faha, a small Irish parish unaltered in a 1,000 years.

For one thing, the rain is stopping. Nobody remembers when it started; rain on the western seaboard is a condition of living. But now - just as Father Coffey proclaims the coming of the electricity - the rain clouds are lifting.

Seventeen-year-old Noel Crowe is idling in the unexpected sunshine when Christy makes his first entrance into Faha, bringing secrets he needs to atone for. Though he can't explain it, Noel knows right then: something has changed.

As the people of Faha anticipate the endlessly procrastinated advent of the electricity, and Noel navigates his own coming-of-age and his fallings in and out of love, Christy's past gradually comes to light, casting a new glow on a small world.

Harking back to a simpler time, This Is Happiness is a tender portrait of a community - its idiosyncrasies and traditions, its paradoxes and kindnesses, its failures and triumphs - and a coming-of-age tale like no other.

Luminous and lyrical, yet anchored by roots running deep into the earthy and everyday, it is about the power of stories: their invisible currents that run through all we do, writing and rewriting us, and the transforming light that they throw onto our world.

©2019 Niall Williams (P)2019 W. F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about This Is Happiness

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can I give it 6 stars?

I loved this book so much that when it was done I simply started it all over again! I can't recommend this book enough.

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I didn't want it to end

I loved This is Happiness for many reasons.
It was light and laugh out loud funny. It was unabashedly sentimental, and making fun of itself for being sentimental. The characters were very vivid and believable despite being quirky. And the writing was exquisite. Dermot Crawley's reading made it even more authentic and enjoyable. Highly recommended for readers who value more that just plot.

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A Slow Start Resolving Into Infatuation

Having indulged in multiple listens of Muderbot, This Is Happiness proved to be a challenging leap. Happily it didn't take long before I fell under the infamous Irish charm and the delightful magic of Mr. Williams's wordsmithery. I know I will return to enjoy it again with delight.

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Beautiful lyrical story

I enjoyed the gentle humorur and descriptive prose. Like many an Irish tale this story meanders. It takes you through memories of youthful summers in Faha. Read it for the author's way with words. If you are looking for a succinct story full of high drama, look elsewhere, but if you want a gentle story with phenomenal characters and turns of phrase that lift the corners of your mouth then this will be your happiness.

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  • Laura H. Merrill
  • 2019-12-28

Utterly delightful. Therapeutic.

I enjoy this book and this performance from start to finish. Perfect in these trying times.

8 people found this helpful

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  • bobgreenberger
  • 2020-09-26

Poetry disguised as Prose

Harper Lee said one of the reasons she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird was to preserve the image of a small Southern community, whose time was rapidly passing by the middle of the 20th Century. Set just a few years later, post-Sputnik, pre-Beatles, Niall Willaims does the same in This is Happiness.

His preservation project was Faha, in County Clare, Ireland. It's a small parish and the story is equally sized but rich in detail. This is a community finally being wired for electricity and everyone sees it as a demarcation point, a step into the future.

Told from the point of view of No(el), a 17-year-old trying to find himself, he takes his time telling his story. It's a love story about love of community and love of family, while also working as a love story of unrequited and young lovers.

Williams takes his time in the telling because it matches the pace of the community. There are digressions but they're always interesting and he's being as poetic as possible while still writing prose. It's a lovely story and you're wistful for those simpler days.

The writing is just lovely. I heard it as an audiobook and Dermot Crowley's narration is pitch-perfect, adding an extra dimension to the experience.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Cheryl A.
  • 2020-02-10

In the fashion of oral storytelling

“This is Happiness” was beautifully narrated, reminiscent of the oral tradition of story telling. So well written. So nuanced and comforting a reminder that the essence of happiness is simply, the embrace of being alive.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth Byrnes
  • 2019-09-30

A story of love and tenderness

A chance recommendation and a discovery of love and tenderness. Every word rang true and the storytelling was superb! I have recommended this novel to so many people, please make time to listen yourself!!!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Doug Easterling
  • 2020-08-24

An utterly charming escape to not so long ago

Once again the Irish gift for use of the English language is demonstrated in nearly every sentence so rich with imagery that Faha will linger in your memory for a long time. Simply listening to the narration you will find yourself in a story of everyday small village life that is complex, compelling, and utterly rewarding. This is one of the most vivid books I have encountered in a long time. It offers a chance to realize that when life was simpler it also had humor, heartbreak, endurance, and, yes, happiness.

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  • Barbara
  • 2020-06-12

One of the best books I have ever listened to!

I wish there were a six-star option. I’m surprised at how much I loved this book. Nothing much happens, the weather plays a role, and the pace is slow and sweet. This is a quiet story, set in a remote village in Western Ireland in the mid-20th century. The narrator, now an old man, recalls a spring when he was a boy if 19, staying with his grandparents in Faha, while the state electric company was putting in rural electrification. The book is about love: the teenager’s crush on all three daughters of the local doctor, the grandparents’ love for each other, and the love of an old man for the girl he left at the altar 50 years earlier. The book is gorgeous, made the more so by the superb Irish narration.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Patricia Reville
  • 2020-06-03

The Language of Happiness

This coming of age story is almost lost in the sensory delight of the words and the acting. The balance is struck after Mr Williams’s hero Noel, or has he is called No, takes us along through the agonies and mortifications of the first love, impulsive missteps, and painful consequences of a naive young man. It is equal parts painful and amusing.

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  • Peggy
  • 2020-01-13

Best book ever!!!

Loved the book . Love the narrator. My heart ha not been so touched in a long time!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Martha Ressler
  • 2020-07-29

Full of grace

You can feel in your very bones every breath taken by these people, as gracefully and colorfully described by the author. As they live every moment you are with them, in their skins, a part of life more fully lived than before you turn the first page.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-05-05

Like escaping into time itself

I was a bit hesitant in the first few chapters, as the story meandered and I couldn't quite get where it was going. But having faith in the author and just enjoying the beauty of the words and sentences themselves, I found myself more and more captivated by the story. It took me in and brought me to another place, the town of Faha, whose inhabitants and quirks I feel I now know. There is an understated sense of humor here that had me chuckling throughout. And while being puzzled by the seemingly bland title at first, I now see how it perfectly describes the book and what it means to me. Another absolute gem by Niall Williams, supported by a supreme performance from the narrator. Storytelling at its finest.
Give it time, and it will give you happiness.

2 people found this helpful