Sunday, February 20, 2022

The Trouble With Happiness by Tove Ditlevsen

The Trouble With Happiness by Tove Ditlevsen
expected publication date (on this side of the pond): 3 Mar 2022 by Penguin
ISBN 9780241545317

Moments of sudden clarity. Gradual realizations. Unexpected awareness of things previously ignored. Life changes in all of these ways. In this fine collection of short stories, Tove Ditlevsen shows us how and breaks readers’ hearts in the process.

The stories have domestic settings and it is in the home that we see marriages shift and fail, children trying to deal with the confusion of changing family structures, and women coming to new understandings of themselves and their lives. These changes do not come about because of cataclysmic events, but rather through small things that, from the outside, may not seem like life-changing moments. But it is exactly these usually unnoticed events and interactions that alter the lives of the characters in profound ways.

The writing is magnificent, such as when one character states, ‘Loving someone couldn’t be helped. It came and went like whooping cough.’ (p79) I was drawn into each story and felt like I was in the room with the characters. I have not read any of this author’s other work, but I will not hesitate to do so in future. I am a big fan of short stories and I know from experience that in most collections there will be one or two stories that I am not so keen on. That was not the case here. There were no stories that I did not like. I highly recommend this book.

I was quite pleased to receive an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and balanced review. 


Rostrose said...

Dear Shari,
You got me interested in this book, although I usually don't like short stories as much as novels. (I like to get used to the protagonists, I make friends with some of them, that works best with thick books ;-))
However, it doesn't seem to be available in German yet. I checked under the name Tove Ditlevsen and found that the author has only recently been discovered internationally. And I read that her life was anything but easy - and unfortunately didn't last very long either...
If you are interested: I found an article about Tove here, in German, but if you paste the link into Google Translate, you can translate the whole post: danish-author-tove-ditlevsen
All the best, Traude

Shari Burke said...

Thanks for the link, Traude! I will check it out! :-)

Ah yes, I am a fan of thick books, too--LOL Nothing like settling in with a nice chunky book and entering another time/place. But sometimes when I am done with such a book I am kind of sad because I have to leave that world behind :-)

Rostrose said...

I know this kind of sadness, dear Shari :-)

Vicki said...

You've convinced me to order the audio. Can't wait to listen to it!

Shari Burke said...

Hope the reader is good! This would be a great one for audio!