Secrets of Happiness by Joan Silber

I read Joan Silber’s impressive silent improvement in 2019 and have completed my review hoping to see more of her novels here in the UK. I was happy to discover the secrets of happiness in the release plans. While exploring the consequences of an accident by all affected by it, this new novel focuses on our desire for happiness by revealing the second family of a seemingly happy man.

Gil often traveled to Asia and organized the manufacture of the clothes that bear his name. Ethan and Allyson took the fortune of acquiring their parents to receive lawful requests to subsidize the needs of his two teenage sons, hiding in their Thai mother’s home in Queens. From this revelation comes a series of connections, some closing, others touching.

Ethan begins a lawful career and a series of relationships once he goes out; Joe, his half-brother, becomes a computer scientist, seeking his former college flame when she is widowed; Maribel hoped that her intense affair with the Man written by a Taxi leads to something else, as long as Rachel meets Ethan when he falls in love with her brother’s lover, but helps to take care of his president, who is still in the picture and suffers from an incurable health-issue. All these links, and much more, are brought together in a fictional work that explores how we humans often find happiness in unexpected ways and what are the things that convince us.

Love and money were always twisted and Confused, always mistaken for each other.

Like the film, Secrets of Happiness reads like a series of Foreign short stories; if you look closely at this cover, you can see that it is a puzzle that neatly summarizes the structure of silver. Beginning and ending with Ethan’s story, revealing the Secret Life of his father and his own discovery of quiet happiness in his forties, the story of each character is told with his own voice, which surprisingly knows himself with others.

This is the kind of structure that Elizabeth Strout adopted and executed with the same apparent ease, although silver melts her novel not in a small town, but in New York with several detours in Asia, from Nepal to Thailand. His characters are depicted with insight, The Stick gives courage from one to another, and a complacent thread of gentle humor runs through the novel. Money is a recurring theme, the absence of which often interrupts the happiness of the characters, as long as Love is sometimes found in the most surprising places. It ends with a satisfying and clearly unobtrusive note. An absolute pleasure to read.

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