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Fiction Literary


by (author) Will Ferguson

narrator Ron Halder

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Jul 2003
  • Audio cassette

    Publish Date
    Jul 2003
    List Price

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In this audiobook of his satirical, fast-paced novel, Will Ferguson, the author of the critically acclaimed Hokkaido Highway Blues, skewers American society's obsession with self-improvement. When an enormous self-help manuscript arrives on the desk of Edwin de Valu, a stressed-out, overworked, and underpaid editor at New York's Panderic Press, its fate seems destined for the bin. Edwin's cynicism about self-help books, coupled with his filthy mood that morning, results in his dismissing Tupak Soiree's What I Learned on the Mountain in the most ignominious fashion: he doesn't even bother to reply. However, during an editorial meeting Edwin is confronted by a questioning publisher, one desperate for the next big thing. Without thinking, and in need of something to report, Edwin begins to extol the virtues of What I Learned on the Mountain, and the excitement around the table is palpable.

With every reason. Tupak Soiree's doorstopper becomes a very unique thing: a self-help book that actually works, and it launches a chain of events that will have enormous consequences not just on Edwin's life but for the world at large. Suddenly, everyone CAN be happy, CAN lose weight and stop smoking, and CAN get rich quick. Edwin fears that the bliss he has unleashed on the world may indeed be a curse.

One by one his friends and family take up the cult of "Happiness" (a word now trademarked by Panderic Press). Soon Edwin begins to see that any system of blind acceptance is ultimately destructive. He realizes that he is the unlikely champion that fate has chosen to fight the menace of Happiness™.

Happiness ™ is a masterpiece of comic fiction, a must for anyone who has retched on Chicken Soup for the Soul but deep down felt the need for some spiritual and emotional guidance. Or as Tupac Soiree says: LIVE! LOVE! LEARN!

About the authors

Travel writer and novelist Will Ferguson is the author of several award-winning memoirs, including Beyond Belfast, about a 560-mile walk across Northern Ireland in the rain; Hitching Rides with Buddha, about an end-to-end journey across Japan by thumb; and most recently the humour collection Canadian Pie, which includes his travels from Yukon to PEI.

Ferguson's novels include Happiness™, a satire set in the world of self-help publishing, and Spanish Fly, a coming-of-age tale of con men and call girls set amid the jazz clubs of the Great Depression. His work, which has been published in more than twenty languages around the world, has been nominated for both an IMPAC Dublin Award and a Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and he is a three-time winner of the Leacock Medal.


Will Ferguson's profile page

Ron Halder is an accomplished stage, television, and radio actor who does regular voice work for a wide range of animes, including Zoids: New Century Zero, Spider-Man Unlimited, and Kong: The Animated Series. His most recent work for BTC Audiobooks is the comic novel Happiness™ by Will Ferguson.

Ron Halder's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Although advertised as hilarious, Happiness has an ominous truth at its core. Novelist Will Ferguson has written the ultimate satire on self-help books, full of hijinks and capers — think of Monty Python skits replete with both juvenility and Latin terms. Its conclusion, however, mutes the belly laughs: "we can't close our eyes and hug ourselves into believing that old age, death and disillusion don't exist." Fortunately for us, Ferguson has a wicked good time telling the story."

<i>The Washington Post</i>

"Playful, cantankerous, and more fun than a barrel of editors!"

CTV <i>Canada AM</i>

"In a surprisingly moving ending to this uncompromising and brilliant satire, Ferguson serves up his true thematic feast. We are all, in our own ways, fleeing our doom, fleeing our decline, our inevitable mortality. But blindness and blandness will get us nowhere."

<i>Globe and Mail</i>

Other titles by Will Ferguson