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Publisher's Summary

When a man discovers his father in New York has long had another, secret, family - a wife and two kids - the interlocking fates of both families lead to surprise loyalties, love triangles, and a reservoir of inner strength. 

Ethan, a young lawyer in New York, learns that his father has long kept a second family - a Thai wife and two kids living in Queens. In the aftermath of this revelation, Ethan's mother spends a year working abroad, returning much changed, as events introduce her to the other wife. Across town, Ethan's half brothers are caught in their own complicated journeys: one brother's penchant for minor delinquency has escalated, and the other must travel to Bangkok to bail him out, while the bargains their mother has struck about love and money continue to shape their lives. 

As Ethan finds himself caught in a love triangle of his own, the interwoven fates of these two households elegantly unfurl to encompass a woman rallying to help an ill brother with an unreliable lover and a filmmaker with a girlhood spent in Nepal. Evoking a generous and humane spirit, and a story that ranges over three continents, Secrets of Happiness elucidates the ways people marshal the resources at hand to forge their own forms of joy.

©2021 Joan Silber (P)2021 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Secrets of Happiness

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Tedious

I had to read this or I wouldn't have and I would have returned it. Nothing happens to the characters, they are uninteresting. I found nothing special about the prose or the plot. I wish someone who loved it would explain to me how I should have enjoyed it and what I missed. I didn't like these people at all. I know there's an audience for every writer, I'm sorry I wasn't the right one for this book.

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Listen Twice!

I absolutely loved this listen. The actors were all excellent - the performances of Rachel and Ethan were particularly enjoyable. The stories were simple, intertwined, and I took so much from each one. The second listen was just as good as the first if not better because of all the "aha!" moments, noticing tiny threads of connection between characters who did not know each other. I also thought it was interesting how you got to know some characters quite well who were NOT narrators, just through the eyes of the multiple narrators who described their interactions. The whole structure seemed like real life to me. Nobody was precious or on a soap box because of one thing or another - just living their lives as normal people do - being quietly heroic, quietly selfish, quietly different and subtly connected. There is no great effort to prove a point in this book, and that is what makes it so great. You take more from the simplicity of the happenings in the character's lives than you would in any grand statement of "who they are" or "what happened to them". I feel like I actually know the people in these stories, and as in real life, you gain so much from knowing someone well. And then there is the title... I love the title because this book is an unexpected application of that statement. One size does not fit all, and that is very reassuring for all of us.

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Endless ramblings

I finally gave up trying to figure out where this endless story was going at chapter .