Douglas Kennedy: The Pursuit of Happiness

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Douglas Kennedy The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Название:
    The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Arrow Books
  • Жанр:
    Современная проза / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2001
  • Город:
    London
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • Рейтинг книги:
    3 / 5
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Manhattan, Thanksgiving eve, 1945. The war is over, and Eric Smythe's party was in full swing. All his clever Greenwich Village friends were there. So too was his sister Sara, an independent, outspoken young woman, starting to make her way in the big city. And then in walked Jack Malone, a U.S. Army journalist just back from a defeated Germany, a man whose world view was vastly different than that of Eric and his friends. This chance meeting between Sara and Jack and the choices they both made in the wake of it would eventually have profound consequences, both for themselves and for those closest to them for decades afterwards. Set amidst the dynamic optimism of postwar New York and the subsequent nightmare of the McCarthy era, "The Pursuit of Happiness" is a great, tragic love story; a tale of divided loyalties, decisive moral choices and the random workings of destiny.

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Douglas Kennedy

The Pursuit of Happiness


'This is the kind of writing that isn't supposed to be written anymore - a stunning conflation of individual destiny with the broad sweeps of history... Let the hyperbole fall - this is the novel against which the rest of the year's output demands to be judged' Express on Sunday

'A triumph' Mail on Sunday

'This is a book that demands attention, gripping from the first pages to the closing chapters' Marie Claire

'Kennedy really can tell a story... the twists in the plot are perfectly timed to keep the pages turning' The Times

'Curl up and enjoy' Spectator

'A big ambitious book... the storytelling is accomplished and the characters of the women, particularly Sara's true and singular voice, stay in the mind well after the last page' Irish Times

'Kennedy chillingly evokes the atmosphere of disbelief, then visceral fear which tore media-America apart' Lisa Appignanesi, Independent

'An engrossing fable of moral choice' Sunday Telegraph

'This superb story of divided loyalties and personal tragedy will leave you pinned to your seat' Woman & Home

'Escapism at its very best' Sunday Business Post

'Postwar Manhattan simply leaps off the page' Independent on Sunday (Fifty Best)

'Outstanding' Good Housekeeping


About the author

Douglas Kennedy's novels - The Dead Heart, The Big Picture, The Job, The Pursuit of Happiness, A Special Relationship, State of the Union, Temptation and The Woman in the Fifth - have all been highly praised bestsellers. He is also the author of three acclaimed travel books: Beyond the Pyramids, In God's Country and Chasing Mammon. His work has been translated into sixteen languages. In 2006 he received the French decoration of Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Born in Manhattan in 1955, he lives in London with his wife and two children.


This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.


ISBN 9781407098401

Version 1.0

www.randomhouse.co.uk

Published in the United Kingdom by Arrow Books in 2002

Copyright (c) Douglas Kennedy 2001


The right of Douglas Kennedy to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.

This electronic book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.


First published in the United Kingdom by Hutchinson in 2001

Arrow Books

The Random House Group Limited

20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA

www.rbooks.co.uk


Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited can be found at: www.randomhouse.co.uk/offices.htm

The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 9781407098401

Version 1.0


Once again for Grace Carley

We do not what we ought;

What we ought not, we do;

And lean upon the thought

That chance will bring us through.

- Matthew Arnold


Part One

Kate

One

I FIRST SAW her standing near my mother's coffin. She was in her seventies - a tall, angular woman, with fine grey hair gathered in a compact bun at the back of her neck. She looked the way I hope to look if I ever make it to her birthday. She stood very erect, her spine refusing to hunch over with age. Her bone structure was flawless. Her skin had stayed smooth. Whatever wrinkles she had didn't cleave her face. Rather, they lent it character, gravitas. She was still handsome - in a subdued, patrician way. You could tell that, once upon a recent time, men probably found her beautiful.

But it was her eyes that really caught my attention. Blue-grey. Sharply focused, taking everything in. Critical, watchful eyes, with just the slightest hint of melancholy. But who isn't melancholic at a funeral? Who doesn't stare at a coffin and picture themselves laid out inside of it? They say funerals are for the living. Too damn true. Because we don't just weep for the departed. We also weep for ourselves. For the brutal brevity of life. For its ever-accumulating insignificance. For the way we stumble through it, like foreigners without a map, making mistakes at every curve of the road.

When I looked at the woman directly, she averted her gaze in embarrassment - as if I had caught her in the act of studying me. Granted, the bereaved child at a funeral is always the subject of everybody's attention. As the person closest to the departed, they want you to set the emotional tone for the occasion. If you're hysterical, they won't be frightened of letting rip. If you're sobbing, they'll just sob too. If you're emotionally buttoned up, they'll also remain controlled, disciplined, correct.

I was being very controlled, very correct - and so too were the twenty or so mourners who had accompanied my mother on 'her final journey' - to borrow the words of the funeral director who dropped that phrase into the conversation when he was telling me the price of transporting her from his 'chapel of rest' on 75th and Amsterdam to this, 'her eternal resting place'... right under the LaGuardia Airport flight path in Flushing Meadow, Queens.

After the woman turned away, I heard the reverse throttle of jet engines and glanced up into the cold blue winter sky. No doubt several members of the assembled graveside congregation thought that I was contemplating the heavens - and wondering about my mother's place in its celestial vastness. But actually all I was doing was checking out the livery of the descending jet. US Air. One of those old 727s they still use for short hauls. Probably the Boston shuttle. Or maybe the Washington run...

It is amazing the trivial junk that floats through your head at the most momentous moments of your life.

'Mommy, Mommy'.

My seven-year-old son, Ethan, was tugging at my coat. His voice cut across that of the Episcopalian minister, who was standing at the back of the coffin, solemnly intoning a passage from Revelations:

God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;

And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow

Nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain;

For the former things are passed away.

I swallowed hard. No sorrow. No crying. No pain. That was not the story of my mother's life.

'Mommy, Mommy...'

Ethan was still tugging on my sleeve, demanding attention. I put a finger to my lips and simultaneously stroked his mop of dirty blond hair.

'Not now, darling', I whispered.

'I need to wee'.

I fought a smile.

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