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May: “Secrets of Happiness” by Joan Silber

Secrets of Happiness by Joan Silber

Our May 2021 Book of the Month

ABOUT THE BOOK

Ethan, a young lawyer in New York, learns that his father has long kept a second family — a Thai wife and two kids living in Queens. In the aftermath of this revelation, Ethan’s mother spends a year working abroad, returning much changed, as events introduce her to the other wife. Across town, Ethan’s half brothers are caught in their own complicated journeys: one brother’s penchant for minor delinquency has escalated, and the other must travel to Bangkok to bail him out, while the bargains their mother has struck about love and money continue to shape their lives.

As Ethan finds himself caught in a love triangle of his own, the interwoven fates of these two households elegantly unfurl to encompass a woman rallying to help an ill brother with an unreliable lover and a filmmaker with a girlhood spent in Nepal. Evoking a generous and humane spirit, and a story that ranges over three continents, Secrets of Happiness elucidates the ways people marshal the resources at hand to forge their own forms of joy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joan Silber is the author of nine books of fiction. The most recent is Secrets of Happiness. Her novel, Improvement, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. She also received the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. Her previous book, Fools, was longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. The Size of the World was a finalist for the LA Times Fiction Prize, and Ideas of Heaven was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize. She is also the author of The Art of Time in Fiction. She lives in New York, taught for many years at Sarah Lawrence College, and teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program.

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