This Happy

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781474611695

Price: £8.99

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A beautiful, wry love story‘ David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY

I love this woman’s writing. Golden sentences‘ Diana Evans, author of ORDINARY PEOPLE

One of the year’s most beautifully written books, THIS HAPPY traces the path to womanhood of Alannah from disastrous affair to no-less-comfortable marriage and beyond’ The i, Best Books of 2020 So Far

If you loved Sally Rooney’s NORMAL PEOPLE, read this novelDarkly romantic … Reminiscent of Eimear McBride’s lyrical Joycean sentencesVogue

‘The best novel I have read all year’ Sunday Business Post

I have taken apart every panel of this, like an ornamental fan. But we stayed in the cottage for three weeks only, just three weeks, because it was cut short you see – cut short after just three weeks, when I’d left my entire life behind.

When Alannah was twenty-three, she met a man who was older than her – a married man – and fell in love. Things happened suddenly. They met in April, in the first bit of mild weather; and in August, they went to stay in rural Ireland, overseen by the cottage’s landlady.

Six years later, when Alannah is newly married to another man, she sees the landlady from afar. Memories of those days spent in bliss, then torture, return to her. And the realisation that she has been waiting – all this time – to be rediscovered.


Campbell evokes vivid nostalgia with her clear-eyed prose that is a compelling combination of candid and droll
BOOK RIOT, Best Books of Summer 2020
There are impressively toe-curling set pieces detailing awkward encounters between families... Campbell's language is striking
John Self, The Spectator
We are offered a dazzling array of thoughts on the mute choreography of human relationships, the piercing solitude of romantic endeavour, the "melancholy and longing" that overtakes middle-aged men (a condition "they always believe to be original"), and the unbidden arrival of the truth of our once-mysterious behaviour... Campbell leads us to these insights with freshness and resonance... Such evocative prose ... The ghosts of our past might refuse to go away. But, as this book so stirringly shows, you can write them into edifying life
The i
Superb... This is a novel of psychological texture... Campbell can turn a sensory phrase... its opulent unhappiness is something to enjoy
The Sunday Telegraph
The quality of the writing is top-notch. Page after page of astute, deft observations ... Campbell holds her own against her contemporaries, writers like Claire-Louise Bennett, Sally Rooney, Nicole Flattery, who have set a high bar at home and abroad for fast-paced, truth-laced fiction ... THIS HAPPY is a layered and vibrant debut ... full of sensual, offbeat descriptions
Irish Times
She has already been compared with writers such as Eimear McBride, Ali Smith and Claire Louise Bennett, and indeed Niamh Campbell's debut novel does add a distinctive new voice to Irish literature... Witty, fiery, wistful and even shocking, with engrossing heady prose, Campbell's style is unique
Irish Independent
I tore through This Happy over the course of one sticky day. The story of a woman reflecting on the claustrophobic end of a past affair, it's sharp and bracing, with language almost balletic in its intensity.
Sophie Mackintosh
This is an exquisite thing. A book beautiful with real, lived-in feelings and blustery living weather. It's profoundly atmospheric, and a brilliant treatise on memory, the fleeting movement of time and the fluid dynamics of romantic relationships. It feels at once forensic and yet deeply passionate, detached and yet profoundly moving. It's wry as fuck. It provokes the awed re-reading of sentences and paragraphs, over and over
Beautiful, strange and wholly new, Niamh Campbell's novel is the real deal
Elanor Dymott, author of EVERY CONTACT LEAVES A TRACE
The novel gets its energy from the sour kick to its intelligently disaffected narration, as Campbell pins down fleeting impressions from a life textured by memory
Daily Mail
If you loved Sally Rooney's NORMAL PEOPLE, read this novel ... Darkly romantic ... The moral ambiguities (and irreconcilable power struggles) inherent in the relationship are familiar territory for fans of CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS, but in many ways, the prose is less reminiscent of Rooney's clipped, email-honed style than of Eimear McBride's lyrical Joycean sentences
Campbell writes romantic ambivalence and sexual risk with a sharpness that begs belief. Reading this razorblade of a debut I often laughed out loud-more often still shivered with recognition. A hot, ripe portrait of the recent shifts in Ireland and what it means to be a woman inside it
Sue Rainsford, author of FOLLOW ME TO GROUND
One of the year's most beautifully written books, THIS HAPPY traces the path to womanhood of Alannah from disastrous affair to no-less-comfortable marriage and beyond
The i, Best Books of 2020 So Far
Superb... a powerful exploration of sex, relationships, and the past's influence on the present ... The brutally honest examination of Alannah's flawed motivations will no doubt lead to comparisons between Campbell and fellow young Irish writers Naoise Dolan and Sally Rooney
Hot Press
The story of this relationship is interweaved with the present so closely that it feels almost overlaid, reading convincingly like a memory ... An exhilarating story
The Sunday Times
A beautiful, wry love story
David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY
A triumph of style... This book is made of ancient stuff. It is of the land and the landscape - replete with unashamedly ornate, arguably extraneous detail... She writes against the style du jour - sparse prose; tight, fast plots - in favour of something more rich and rebellious ... I heard tones of Joyce as I read - not only in the direct references ("the snot-green sea", Alannah's remark: 'he was my epiphany') - but also in the muscular, myth-laden prose... It is the best novel I have read all year. It snuck up on me like a ghost in the night. It spoke on a different frequency
Sunday Business Post
I love this woman's writing. Golden sentences
Diana Evans, author of ORDINARY PEOPLE
An intense, evocative read
Irish Country Magazine