Playful, funny, and wildly free, Happy inhabits the seam between beauty and tragedy. A miraculous novel.
A bonkers story that reads like a fine ten-course meal.
With an innovative form that is simultaneously playful and profound, Celina Baljeet Basra's HAPPY is outstanding! From the first to the final pages, I was completely charmed by Happy and his crew as they made their treacherous journey towards dreams of a better life. Using wry humour to deliver a dead serious message with laser-sharp lightness, Basra gives depth and definition to the unjust and inhumane conditions facing many migrants and undocumented workers. Read this book.
Revealed in short snippets of imagined dialogue and interspersed with the perspectives of other characters and even inanimate objects, Happy's view of the world starts off as quirky and charming, but gains increasing pathos as the divide between his starry-eyed hopes and his increasingly hopeless reality grows. Happy's singular voice echoes long after the close to this striking story.
First-time novelist Basra delivers a damning indictment of capitalism, a system that swallows the global poor whole and spits out wasted humans. At the same time, Basra maintains a light touch; the novel wears its burdens with good humor.
Happy presents: his world. A fragmented, kaleidoscopic whiz in-keeping with his dreamy, ever-optimistic outlook. Hardships are presented starkly but with humour, the worst of which we are spared in the moment by his glancing away, taking refuge in his own fantasies of superstardom. Immigration, drug abuse, gentrification, racism and death, Happy lives them fully until the book's surprising denoument. A fantastic little gem of a book.