A Happy Man (Paperback)
What's that guy smiling about?
"A noirish rumination on being too happy..."
This book asks a simple question: Is it possible to write compellingly about a happy person? In the hands of celebrated (but never before translated into English) Swiss author Hansjörg Schertenleib, the answer is a resounding yes—because, as it turns out, even happy people are surrounded by unhappy people, which can make for considerable stress, and, well, what’s a happy man to do?
And it’s not as if the hero of this book—whose name is, well, This—is a pleasant but unaware zombie. He’s a smart, interesting, quirky jazz musician...albeit with a wife suffering from depression, and a rebellious teenaged daughter. They find his contentedness more and more irritating. And yet This just can’t help it—life makes him happy. And the mounting tension that results is beautifully set off by Schertenleib’s lyrical prose, the smoky setting of Amsterdam, and the dialogue that’ s as edgy as that of a noir movie.
And thus a book that seems at first a writerly experiment becomes a gradually intensifying tale of a simple bit of human hope holding on against great odds, to an inspiring and shocking ending.
The Contemporary Art of the Novella series is designed to highlight work by major authors from around the world. In most instances, as with Imre Kertész, it showcases work never before published; in others, books are reprised that should never have gone out of print. It is intended that the series feature many well-known authors and some exciting new discoveries. And as with the original series, The Art of the Novella, each book is a beautifully packaged and inexpensive volume meant to celebrate the form and its practitioners.
About the Author
Hansjorg Schertenleib was born in 1957 in Zurich, Switzerland. He was trained as a typesetter and a graphic designer and educated at the School of Arts in Zurich. He has written for numerous, leading German-language periodicals like "Der Stern" and "Die Zeit," and is the author of seven novels, two collections of his poetry, and two story collections, as well as three young adult novels. After living in Vienna and London, he moved to Ireland in 1996 and acquired Irish citizenship.
Praise for Hansjörg Schertenleib's A Happy Man
"It's a book designed to make you want to go back and read the whole thing over again, and it's hypnotic enough that you'll enjoy reinvestigating it at your leisure."
—The Stranger (Seattle)