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This Is Happiness cover art

This Is Happiness

By: Niall Williams
Narrated by: Dermot Crowley
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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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  • 24-10-2021

This is beautiful

“This is Happiness” was recommended by a close friend and mentor during Melbourne’s lockdown 6.0, when it all seemed a bit bleak. “Read this,” he said. “It’ll take your mind off things.” And was he right…The book is narrated by an elderly Irish man, Noe, recalling the unforgettable summer he spent, at age 17, in his grandparents’ home in the Irish town of Faha. There was an unlikely warm spell, the town was about to be electrified, and Noe meets the enigmatic “Electricity man” Christie, in town, perhaps to woo an old lover. Peculiarly Irish, the book is at once funny and charming. But hidden within are also tales of humanity, heartbreak and sorrow. And one of the most moving love stories I have read. Niall Williams’ writing is beautiful - poetic, lyrical and ageless. “This is Happiness” is one of those books which leave you feeling bereft at the end. “Read it again”, my mentor advised. I just might.

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8 people found this helpful

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A brilliant book, beautifully narrated.

This book is an affectionate and perceptive view of a small remote Irish village just as they move from the old ways of living as individuals and as part of the community into modern times with the arrival of the rural electrification scheme.
The characters are are fully realised. The dialogue is authentic and the language is sublime.
Mr Williams is one of Ireland's greatest living writers.

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4 people found this helpful

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Loved every little thing about this book!

A beautifully written memoir of rural Ireland. I was in awe of the weaving of words that made me laugh and cry aloud and conveyed the essence of traditional rural Irish character. ☘️💛

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3 people found this helpful

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This Is Happiness is the perfect Title for this book

This book reaches out to take you on a journey through history.
Lyrical language,quaint and charming characters add to the enjoyment.
I found it wise to listen at a time when I could concentrate on the story and not be distracted by external disturbances in order to concentrate on the details. A rich tapestry of emotions encourage laughter, sorrow and a study of living in an era without modern conveniences. I really enjoyed This Is Happiness

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3 people found this helpful

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Gentle and wise

A gentle book that is partly a coming of age story, partly about love and forgiveness, partly about tolerance..... and probably much more. It left me with the wisdom that if we notice a small, good moment in our life, we'll notice that that is happiness.

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3 people found this helpful

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Tender, funny and moving

An old man looks back on his 17 year old self, as he spends a summer in a small village in the care of his grandparents. With humour, insight and compassion he unfolds a tale of discovery - about the nature of love and friendship, the meaning of community, how we measure ‘progress’ and ultimately, the purpose of his own life. There is so much more to this book - I can’t recommend it highly enough!

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Poignant and funny, the best of Ireland in a book.

Absolutely compelling from first word to last, I read it too quickly and will reread many times I'm sure. It was like listening to a song I didn't want to end.

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a lovely story

I really enjoyed this book. a wonderful story of the past meeting the future and so beautifully narrated.
The humour, the sadness, the realness of the characters... I was sorry it had to finish.

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A beautiful story that brought me back to my childhood.

Would have loved it to go on forever. Niall Williams is a wonderful story teller.

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Just awful.

Complete tripe and I had no idea what the story was. I persisted through to the end of chapter 10 and then abandoned it.

The narrator had a lovely voice.

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