This Is Happiness by Niall Williams
English | 2019 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 1.3 Mb
This Is Happiness : The most enchanting novel you’ll read this year, from the acclaimed author of Man Booker-longlisted History of the Rain
Change is coming to Faha, a small Irish parish unaltered in a thousand 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 for which he needs to atone. 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.
“Father Coffey, the curate, was young then, and in vocational love with his new parish. Pale and thin as a Communion wafer, he was addicted to the Wilkinson Sword and shaved to the blood vessels. He had the raw look of a trainee saint and the glossy eyes of those in combat with their own blood. But he lived within the inviolate privacies of the priesthood then, so no one in Faha ever questioned or considered his welfare. Empurpled with the primacy of Easter, he was alone on the altar that afternoon. Father Tom, the PP, who had succeeded the Devil when he went by the name Canon Sully, was a man beloved in the parish. He had heard the confessions of every soul for forty years and was exhausted from absolution. From storing inside himself the sins of the congregation, he was suffering one of his regular chest infections.
To give young Father Coffey his due, that man would serve in the parish fifty-one years, confound the common narrative by doing more than one man’s share of good, twice refusing edicts to be transferred, silently suffering what sanctions came from the Palace so that he could stay faithful to Faha, where in later years, unretired long after retirement age, white wires growing out his ears, a congregation of four souls for daily Mass that he’d say in his socks, two unresolved Morton’s neuromae making shoes intolerable, he’d be robbed so often he’d take to leaving the key in the front door of the Parochial House, some coins and food on the table, until they took that table too.”