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A breathtaking novel from Orange Prize-shortlisted and Commonwealth Writers' Prize-winning author Aminatta Forna

About the Author

Aminatta Forna is the author of the novels The Hired Man, The Memory of Love and Ancestor Stones, and the memoir The Devil that Danced on the Water. Her books have won multiple prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Book Award, and been shortlisted for many others, among them the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Neustadt Prize, the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Dublin International IMPAC Award. In 2014 Forna won the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prize, an award from Yale University in honour of an author's body of work. Happiness was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2019. Forna has acted as judge for a number of literary awards, including the International Man Booker. She is currently Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University and Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. In 2017, she was awarded an OBE. aminattaforna.com / @aminattaforna


Forna's voice is relentlessly compelling, her ability to summon atmosphere extraordinary, her sympathetic portrayal of traffic wardens, street performers, security guards, hotel doormen a thing of lasting beauty. It is as if the author has privileged access into multiple spheres of existence, learning the secret languages of each, conferring dignity and consequence on these figures who often pass unseen and unrecorded in our accounts of contemporary life * Observer *
Forna isn't in the business of offering cheap comfort. Life, this novel tells us, is about change and challenge, accommodation and acceptance ... In the richness of its urban portrait and the nuance of its narrative, Happiness makes clear that life is always complex and kindness not a cure-all. This is a book about humanity's glorious, irreducible mess; a book filled with grief, largesse and joy. It is not about escapism, or about making us feel good; rather it's about making us feel everything * Times Literary Supplement *
Forna is a risk-taker, a writer who doesn't hold back from tackling big themes ... Happiness is one of a handful of contemporary novels that take both the human condition and the animal condition seriously. Entering Forna's sweeping universe transports you to a place that feels familiar, but also totally feral and full of surprises * Financial Times *
A generous, thought-provoking love story ... A multi-layered portrait of 21st-century London * Sizzling Summer Reads, Mail on Sunday *
Happiness is a great pleasure to read because of how much life is packed in by Forna ... It's an unusual novel that wears its cleverness lightly; tender, but with an eyes-wide-open recognition that the world is harsh. Forna humanises people who have witnessed the worst humanity can offer - and none more than Attila, the most appealing protagonist I have encountered in a long while * The Times *
Piercingly intelligent and interrogative ... Registers tectonic shifts taking place in the world and provokes us to think anew about war, and what we take for peace and happiness * Spectator *
It's absolutely brilliant ... this is my novel of the year. It's going in my pile of the best novels I have read -- Radio New Zealand, Nine to Noon
Forna's writing exudes an excitable kind of curiosity - about people, about the world. She has a magpie eye for interesting facts and observations ... She has a big heart and impressive breadth, writing with equal acuity and empathy about women and men, Americans and Africans, professors and traffic wardens ... There is so much to enjoy in this book * New Statesman *
Aminatta Forna expertly weaves her characters' stories, past and present, in and out of the larger story of London, which becomes as rich a character as the human beings and, indeed, the foxes; and she makes us care deeply about them all, the foxes, the people and the city. A terrific novel * Salman Rushdie *
One of the best novels I've read in quite a while - intelligent, deep and poignant. It sheds smooth, unflinching light upon the unseen. Forna is at the top of her game * Rabih Alameddine, author of The Angel of History and An Unnecessary Woman *
She has a deft touch and a warm style ... Happiness is full of elegantly-written passages that you will want to revisit to make sense of changing circumstances in an increasingly tumultuous world * Evening Standard *
From the understated and inexorable pull of plot and emotion to the luxuriousness of the details of varied ways of living and being to the tidal pull of language, Happiness is a great accomplishment -- Viet Thanh Nguyen
Powerfully affecting -- Alex Preston, 'The Best Fiction of 2018' * Observer *
Both generous in spirit and thought-provoking * Mail on Sunday *
A deeply moving novel about love, trauma and the ties that bind us together. Beautifully written and ingeniously allegorical. Aminatta Forna is a writer of phenomenal talent, with a clear eye, a fearless voice, and an extraordinary range * Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account *
Her prose quietly grips us by the throat and then tightens its hold. It is storytelling at its most taut ... A gifted writer -- Praise for 'The Hired Man' * Independent *
- The best writer of fiction in this field ... The intelligence of Forna's storytelling is testament to a woman who has deep emotional resources -- Praise for 'The Hired Man' * Evening Standard *
A fresh, immaculate stylist and an unsparing chronicler of human vices ... Profound -- Praise for 'The Hired Man' * The Times *

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