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Happiness  By  cover art

Happiness

By: Aminatta Forna
Narrated by: Robin Miles
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Publisher's Summary

From award-winning writer Aminatta Forna, a stunning novel bringing an American scientist and a Ghanaian psychologist together in London in a hunt for a missing boy - and an expansive, subtle tale of loss, hope, love, compassion, culture, and the true meaning of happiness.

London. A fox makes its way across Waterloo Bridge. The distraction causes two pedestrians to collide - Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist there to deliver a keynote speech. From this chance encounter, Aminatta Forna's unerring powers of observation show how in the midst of the rush of a great city lie numerous moments of connection.

Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma, as he has done many times before; and to contact the daughter of friends, his "niece" who hasn't called home in a while. Ama has been swept up in an immigration crackdown, and now her young son Tano is missing. 

When, by chance, Attila runs into Jean again, she mobilizes the network of rubbish men she uses as volunteer fox spotters. Security guards, hotel doormen, traffic wardens - mainly West African immigrants who work the myriad streets of London - come together to help. As the search for Tano continues, a deepening friendship between Attila and Jean unfolds.

Meanwhile a consulting case causes Attila to question the impact of his own ideas on trauma, the values of the society he finds himself in, and a grief of his own. In this delicate tale of love and loss, of cruelty and kindness, Forna asks us to consider the interconnectedness of lives, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures, and the true nature of happiness.

©2018 Aminatta Forna (P)2018 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Happiness

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This book is a must read

I found this to be a very beautiful book. Small interlocking stories about relationships and personal histories weave together with philosophical contemplations on trauma and resilience and weave again with the stories of resilience of animals who live in urban settings near, because of or despite humans. The author’s physical and luminous descriptions of the somatic and of the natural ecosystems lend substance and bring a richness to the characters and their places in the story. I loved it. The narrator is wonderful, very lovely and moving to listen to.

4 people found this helpful

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The beauty of connection

A subtle, intelligent exploration of intercultural and interspecies connections in contemporary London. Forna’s characters grow in depth throughout the novel until it seems you have always known them. Excellent performance draws listeners in.

2 people found this helpful

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on adaptation and resilince

A beutifully written novel, with an important message about living life and showing how we are all better when we work with each other rather than against each other.

2 people found this helpful

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Happiness

Happiness, as described by Aminatta Forna can be hard to understand let alone attain. The author puts this thesis forward in many different ways throughout this novel. However, the author also jumps around from one time period to another and from one character to another so frequently, I sometimes felt a bit lost. I also found the author's use of the third person omniscient off putting, keeping me at arms length from all the wonderful characters she created. The reading by Robin Miles was excellent. Her ability to depict the characters in different accents and voices made the book come alive.

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Storytelling with Depth

A captivating story with lots of threads. I was surprised when there was such a strong moral to the story. This book give the reader much to ponder so resist the urge to read quickly and move on. This is a great read for a book club or to converse with a friend about.

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Thought-provoking and lovely

Truly dimensional characters and excellent narration. A heart-warming story that deals with environmental issues— a rare thing!

1 person found this helpful

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so very engaging

In this book Forma accomplishes the difficult task of writing a book of ideas with deeply engaging characters.

Robin Miles, as always is a wonderful narrator, giving each character a distinct and believable voice, as well as reading for meaning.

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Brilliant

A superb novel, very well read. Wonderful characters throughout with vivid settings in England, the United States, and elsewhere. Very highly recommended.