The web of connections between private and public life, between the intellectual and the emotional and the political, is delicately visible, only occasionally breaking the surface.

Harper’s Magazine

A hauntingly beautiful novel from the “glowing light of modern Italian literature” (The New York Times Book Review)

Happiness, as Such

Fiction by Natalia Ginzburg

Translated by Minna Zallman Proctor

At the heart of Happiness, as Such is an absence—an abyss that pulls everyone to its brink—created by a family’s only son, Michele, who has fled from Italy to England to escape the dangers and threats of his radical political ties. This novel is part epistolary: his mother writes letters to him, nagging him; his sister Angelica writes, missing him; so does Mara, his former lover, telling him about the birth of her son who may be his own. Left to clean up Michele’s mess, his family and friends complain, commiserate, tease, and grieve, struggling valiantly with the small and large calamities of their interconnected lives.

Natalia Ginzburg’s most beloved book in Italy and one of her finest achievements, Happiness, as Such is an original, wise, raw, comic novel that cuts to the bone.

Editions: PaperbackEbook

Buy from:

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Paperback (published June 25, 2019)

ISBN
9780811227995
Price US
15.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
176pp

Ebook

ISBN
9780811228008

The web of connections between private and public life, between the intellectual and the emotional and the political, is delicately visible, only occasionally breaking the surface.

Harper’s Magazine

Magnificent…This is a riveting story about how even when a family drifts apart, the bonds of blood relations supersede the deepest disagreements.

Publishers Weekly (starred)

Ginzburg writes with humor and pathos. Epistolary, family exposes each to the other and we soon recognize that happiness is defined as mundane visitations, daily routines, and reactivated memory of joy as seen through loss.

—Lucy Kogler, * Lit Hub *

Happiness, As Such is a tragicomedy of manners about an Italian family whose only son flees the country after being persecuted for his political activism. Published in Italy in 1973, it’s primarily a series of letters between the estranged son and his friends and family back home. If that sounds uneventful, rest assured it’s just as compelling as The Dry Heart.

Chicago Tribune

A swiftly moving blend of dialogue and letters, the novel speaks to Ginzburg’s remarkable range as a writer: beneath the currents of humor and wit is a subtle work of insight and feeling. Another masterpiece from one of the finest postwar Italian writers.

Kirkus (starred)