Landmark Skybox

Breeze-Courier | Taylorville, IL
The Weather Network
Advanced Search
search sponsored by


LOGIN | SUBSCRIBE




KMRM

home : news : national news free February 25, 2020

12/24/2019 9:30:00 AM
Review: Understated and undeclared love on every page of this book

“This is Happiness,“ Bloomsbury Publishing, by Niall Williams

“This Is Happiness” is a breathtaking tale told through the eyes of Noel, or Noe, Crowe. After a crisis of faith, the 17-year-old Noe is shipped off to stay with his grandparents in western Ireland, to “the drowning edge of the furthermost that was Faha.”

Faha in the 1970s, when this story takes place, was a place “where, when darkness fell, it fell absolutely, and when you went outside the wind sometimes drew apart the clouds and you stood in the revelation of so many stars you could not credit the wonder and felt smaller in body as your soul felt enormous.”

But while Faha appears to be left behind by the modern world, two remarkable events are about to happen in this village, where “the gap between not-raining and raining again was usually so short you only had time to shake the drops off your cap before it started once more.” First, the rain is about to stop. And this unexpected course happens to coincide with the arrival of electricity.

Along with the electric crews comes a man named Christy, a man who “carried the weight of himself with a look of bemusement, as if it was he who told the world the joke of himself.” Christy, who rents a room from Noe’s grandparents, is not just there to bring light to the village, but to make amends for the mistakes of a lifetime. One of those mistakes resides in Faha, and Christy enlists the young Noe in his quest to right past wrongs.

Williams, a Man Booker Prize-longlisted author for his “History of the Rain,“ is a master of Irish storytelling, crafting sentences that tempt the reader to double back and read again - and characters that get under your skin. Among the most endearing is Ganga, Noe’s grandfather, who “lived outside of the jurisdiction of all judgment and thought everyone was always doing their best.” Ganga is the kind of man who breaks his bicycle in an attempt to befriend his friendless neighbor. The kind of man who would leave a copper penny on the ground so that the man, woman or child who found it would think that it’s his or her lucky day.

Ganga has his own unique storytelling style, ending sentences “not by design but by natural exhaustion.” Noe describes his grandfather’s stories as “pell-mell, throwing Aristotle’s unities of action, place and time into the air and in a tumult let the details tumble down the stairs of his brain and out his mouth. He had grown up in an age when storytelling was founded on the forthright principles of passing the time and dissolving the hours of dark.”

For those lulled into the rhythm of Williams’ storytelling there is understated and undeclared love on every page of this book. He captures the love between bickering couples, between friends on a hopeless adventure and love of place and circumstance. The latter Williams describes through the eyes of Doady, Noe’s grandmother:

“My grandmother . understood the tightrope balance they had sustained for nearly half a century, a topsy-turvy way of living they had made up on the model of their own parents and grandparents, which had survived the rearing of a dozen tearaway sons in four rooms in a drowned place on the far margin of the world, where belts could be tightened or loosened as needs be, and without anyone’s say-so but your own. What Doady knew, without saying a word, was that, within the one-foot-after-the-other confines of that tightrope, they were free.”





Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

If you are looking for the SPEAK OUT submission form, you can find it by clicking here: Speak Out Form


Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

NOTE: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address will not be displayed or shared.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   










Trinity Dodge Fixed
Dr Paul The Dentist
NewsWebPagesOpinionPeopleObituariesAg & BusinessSportsContact UsLife
Subscriptions | Username & Password Reminder | Change Password | Life

Breeze-Courier & Printing | 212 S Main St. Taylorville, IL 62568 | (217) 824-2233 |
website@breezecourier.com

© Copyright 2014 Breeze-Courier & Printing. All Rights Reserved.
Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Breeze-Courier & Printing.

Software © 1998-2020 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved