cover image The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

Douglas Kennedy, Atria, $16 paper (592p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9912-1

In Kennedy's 10th novel, fledgling writer Sara Smythe has defied her parents' wishes, left Hartford, and begun a literary life in post-WWII New York. She lands a sought-after job at Life magazine and frequents parties in Greenwich Village hosted by her playwright brother, Eric. There, surrounded by Communists and artists, she meets Jack Malone, a Stars and Stripes journalist. The night they spend together upends Sara's plans and sends her, Jack, and Ericon a collision course with the repressive forces of the McCarthy era. The legacy of that night extends into the next generation, where Jack's daughter, Kate, is struggling to find her own identity in modern-day Manhattan, unaware of the forces that shaped her. Kennedy tells his epic tale with a keen eye and brisk pace, confidently sweeping through historic events and the lives of his somewhat thin characters, investing most of his energy on the winningly sincere love story. (Oct.)