This Is Happiness

Niall Williams. Bloomsbury, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-63557-420-3
In glorious and lyrical prose, Williams (History of the Rain) spins the tale of one 1958 season in the village of Faha, County Kerry, where young “Noe” Crowe, only 17 and already departed from the seminary, has washed up with his grandparents. The story opens on the Wednesday of Holy Week with the cessation of an almost constant rain, relieving the villagers of their life “under a fall of watery pitchforks.” To add to this wonder, the electricity is finally coming to Faha and with it a lodger at Ganga and Doady Crowe’s house. Christy McMahon is a man of broad experience who seems “as if it was he who told the world the joke of himself” and a perfect companion to Noe. During that late spring and early summer, Noe assists Christy in signing up the locals for electric service, and they spend their evenings on a quest for music at countryside pubs. Most important for Christy is his attempt to gain forgiveness from Annie Mooney, now Annie Gaffney, widow of the village chemist, a woman that Christy left at the altar decades before. Meanwhile, love springs on Noe unawares as he comes under the thrall, in succession, of each of the lovely Troy sisters, daughters of Faha’s doctor, whose attention Noe needs after an accident. Noe’s reminiscences of that period are full of beauty and hard-won wisdom. This novel is a delight. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/06/2019
Release date: 12/03/2019
Genre: Fiction
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