Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reconsidering Happiness

RECONSIDERING HAPPINESS, a novel by Sherrie Flick. I finished the novel last night and highly recommend it. I felt an ache on finishing it, not wanting it to end.

The novel spoke to me, resonated. As an immigrant, a woman who began my own quest years ago: traveling continents to escape heartbreak, looking in places and people for sense, meaning, answers. Happiness. Love. Home. Who even now, is still reconsidering happiness.

The novel takes place in the mid-1990s. Twenty-three-year-old Vivette moves from New England to Iowa, leaving behind her friends, her job at a bakery, and an affair with a married man. En route, Vivette stops in Nebraska, spending a week with an acquaintance, Margaret, who left the same New England bakery years earlier to also escape heartbreak.

The story largely alternates between these two women's point of view, and moves back and forth through time, revealing both women's struggles, their histories of heartbreak and betrayals, loneliness and loss, dreams and desires, and anxiety and fears. Ultimately, though, this is a story about these women's determination and unstoppable spirit.

While this novel may be sparse in plot, it is rich in character, vivid in detail, and lush in meaning. Time and time again throughout the novel I experienced that flicker of recognition, those moments of "yes, that's just how it is."

This novel made me want to eat warm donuts and croissants, to drink fresh brewed coffee and steaming hot chocolate, to smell flowers, listen to birds, take long walks. To visit New England, Nebraska, and Des Moines. To reconsider. To make footprints. To write something this good. To love more. Harder. To live bigger.

You can buy it here. Congratulations, Sherrie Flick, and thank you.

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