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Happiness Comes From Nowhere by Shauna Gilligan
£11.99 £8.49 inc. UK pp
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Trade: Central Books

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Happiness Comes From Nowhere 

Happiness Comes From Nowhere follows the lives of the Horn family: Mary, Sepp and Dirk. Their paths cross and intertwine with those of extended family, friends and acquaintances as journeys are made through the changing city of Dublin. People also venture further in search of happiness: Mary and Dirk wander the streets of Rome and Ita watches a cargo ship unload in Spain. Expressed in ways as different as suicide, art and sex, the inseparable pangs of loss and happiness – remembered and present – are threaded through the novel.


Happiness Comes From Nowhere is by turn perplexing and unsettling, eloquent and flat, mundane and lyrical as it follows its cast through the peaks and troughs of everyday life.

Barbara Clinton The Independent (Ireland)

The verdict: Fresh and original. The episodic structure suits the subject. Shauna Gilligan is a name to watch.

The Irish Examiner

'A refreshingly thoughtful novel, poised and unpredictable. Delicious in its sensuous details and mischievous sense of humour. Happiness Comes from Nowhere is a truly impressive debut from a writer of exceptional talent.'

Éilís Ní Dhuibhne

'In Shauna Gilligan’s unsettling novel-in-stories, Dirk has troubles that his mother Mary may not be able to right, much as she tries. Gilligan writes intimately of one mother’s possessiveness, devotion and ambition for her son. Rich with insight, this is a book that informs as much as it haunts. As a début it is a very fine piece of work.’

Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Happiness Comes from Nowhere is the sort of book that rewards a single reading; the parts fit together like a jigsaw, and it’s nice to keep them fairly close in one’s mind so that the narrative thread remains pretty whole. I liked the way that characters were introduced and having bit parts in one story then become the centre of a later story. And yet, although each part can stand alone, there is a narrative development about loss, which comes together towards the end.

Anne B Ryan, Author of Enough is Plenty

'A daring and truthful book. Gilligan shows us her characters through time and from many angles, charting their troubles and triumphs and changing natures, and those of Dublin itself, with great sensitivity and a deftness of touch. Happiness Comes From Nowhere is a poignant, assured first book.'

Trevor Byrne

Shauna reading from her work at Kenny's bookshop (13:06)


About the author

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Shauna has worked and lived in Mexico, Spain, India and the UK. She holds an MA in History from University College Dublin, having also studied English as an undergraduate. She has recently completed a PhD in Writing at the University of South Wales (formerly University of Glamorgan).

Her short fiction has been published widely on both sides of the Atlantic. She currently lives in County Kildare, Ireland.

Happiness Comes From Nowhere is her debut novel.


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