For fans of The Dinner: a gem of a short novel about friendship, secrets, and two marriages.
"Often I am happy and yet I want to cry; / For no heart fully shares my joy." - B.S. Ingemann
As the novel opens, Ellinor is seventy. Her husband Georg has just passed away, and Ellinor is struck with the need to confide in someone, believing that language only has significance when shared. She addresses Anna, her long-dead best friend, who was also Georg's first wife. Fully aware of the absurdity of speaking to someone who cannot hear her, Ellinor nevertheless finds it meaningful to divulge long-held secrets and burdens of her past: her mother's heartbreaking pride; Ellinor's courtship with her first husband, Henning; their seemingly charmed friendship with another newlywed couple, Anna and Georg. Wry and mellow yet infused with subdued emotion, this philosophical, lyrical novel moves in parallel narrative threads, coming to the disastrous ski trip that shattered the two couples' lives together, while questioning the assumptions we cherish concerning identity and love.
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Jens Christian Grøndahl was born in 1959. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages, and he has received numerous literary prizes in Denmark and abroad. In France, he was made Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his contribution to French culture. His novels Silence in October, Lucca, An Altered Light, and Virginia have also been translated into English. He lives in Copenhagen with his wife and two daughters.Review:
"A compassionate and often edifying commentary on the elasticity of love, the strength it takes to move forward after a death, and the power of forgiveness."―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"[OFTEN I AM HAPPY] possesses quiet grace."―Kirkus
"The pleasures of this short novel are those of watching a foreign film that transports you to an unfamiliar emotional terrain."―Metro Toronto
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