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Fiction Literary

A Way to Be Happy

by (author) Caroline Adderson

Initial publish date
Sep 2024
Literary, Contemporary Women, Psychological, Short Stories (single author)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2024
    List Price

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Short stories about disparate characters consider what it means to find happiness.

On New Year’s Eve, a pair of addicts robs a string of high-end parties in order to fund their own recovery. A middle-aged husband, bewildered by his failing marriage, redirects his anxiety toward a routine colonoscopy. A recently separated woman relocates to a small northern town, where she receives a life-changing visitation. A Russian hitman suffering from a mysterious lung ailment retrieves long-buried memories of his past. In stories about disparate characters grappling with conflicts ranging from mundane to extraordinary, Caroline Adderson’s A Way to Be Happy considers what it means to find happiness—and how we so often seem to understand it through our encounters with the lives, and the stories, of others.

About the author

Caroline Adderson is the author of Very Serious Children (Scholastic 2007), a novel for middle readers about two brothers, the sons of clowns, who run away from the circus. I, Bruno (Orca 2007) and Bruno for Real are collections of stories for emergent readers featuring seven year-old Bruno and his true life adventures.
Caroline Adderson also writes for adults and has won two Ethel Wilson Fiction Prizes, three CBC Literary Awards, as well as the 2006 Marion Engel Award given annually to an outstanding female writer in mid-career. Her numerous nominations include the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Most recently, Caroline was the Vancouver Public Library's 2008 Writer-in-Residence.
Her eight year-old son Patrick and his many friends inspire her children's writing. Caroline and her family live in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Caroline Adderson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for A Way to Be Happy

"A superb and unique collection. Intricate, compassionate, complex, its every sentence carefully built, tested, and polished, each story draws the reader into the life of a character hurtling or meandering towards the consequences of their own choices and to the story’s necessary conclusion. They will by turn flood you with unexpected sympathy, lighten your mood, or leave you with a puzzle you can’t quite solve. No one else writes short fiction the way Caroline Adderson does, and there are only eight stories in the book. The way to be happiest is to savour each one."
—Kathy Page, Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize-winning author of Dear Evelyn

"Caroline Adderson's voice is as vivid as ever in this exciting new collection, and her characters are unfailingly mesmerizing—distinctive, unpredictable, somehow like everyone yet no one you've ever met before."
—Lynn Coady, author of Watching You Without Me

"Caroline Adderson builds terrific suspense from her characters’ lonely, off-centre lives. Each story in A Way to Be Happy is its own mysterious world, shaped by her outstanding powers of imagination and sympathy."
—Elizabeth Hay, author of Snow Road Station

"Caroline Adderson is one of Canada's best short story writers. A brilliant stylist, her inventive sentences are the trademark of a literary pro."
—Susan Swan, author of the upcoming memoir Big Girls Don’t Cry

Praise for Caroline Adderson

“All of Adderson’s characters are rounded and all have utility, not simply as plot devices but as part of a striving, suffering whole.”
—New York Times Book Review

“Caroline Adderson treats the domestic drama with elegance and wit, and what she has to say about her characters and their circumstances is often profound.”
—Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion

“Adderson excels at portraying life in all its glorious, devastating, unpredictable messiness.”
—Toronto Star

“Adderson achieves a remarkable effect with her prose. Its clarity is so overwhelming that it becomes intoxicating.”
—Globe and Mail

“A prose style as elegant and controlled as a swallow dive . . . No one could ever accuse Adderson of timidity when it comes to subject.”
—The Independent

“Arresting . . . [Adderson] writes with a rare understanding of human frailty.”
—The Times (London)

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