Happiness Falls (Good Morning America Book Club)
by Angie Kim
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Pub Date 29 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2024
Belletrist Book Club Pick • Finalist for the New American Voices Award • “This is a story with so many twists and turns I was riveted through the last page.”—Jodi Picoult
One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Season: The New York Times • Los Angeles Times • Oprah Quarterly • Time • St. Louis Post Dispatch • Lit Hub • Publishers Weekly • CrimeReads • ABC News • USA Today
“A brilliant, satisfying, compassionate mystery that is as much about language and storytelling as it is about a missing father. I loved this book.”—Gabrielle Zevin, author of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
“I fell in love with the fascinating, brilliant family at the center of this riveting book.”—Ann Napolitano, author of Hello Beautiful
“We didn’t call the police right away.” Those are the electric first words of this extraordinary novel about a biracial Korean American family in Virginia whose lives are upended when their beloved father and husband goes missing.
Mia, the irreverent, hyperanalytical twenty-year-old daughter, has an explanation for everything—which is why she isn’t initially concerned when her father and younger brother Eugene don’t return from a walk in a nearby park. They must have lost their phone. Or stopped for an errand somewhere. But by the time Mia’s brother runs through the front door bloody and alone, it becomes clear that the father in this tight-knit family is missing and the only witness is Eugene, who has the rare genetic condition Angelman syndrome and cannot speak.
What follows is both a ticking-clock investigation into the whereabouts of a father and an emotionally rich portrait of a family whose most personal secrets just may be at the heart of his disappearance. Full of shocking twists and fascinating questions of love, language, and human connection, Happiness Falls is a mystery, a family drama, and a novel of profound philosophical inquiry. With all the powerful storytelling she brought to her award-winning debut, Miracle Creek, Angie Kim turns the missing-person story into something wholly original, creating an indelible tale of a family who must go to remarkable lengths to truly understand one another.
“A brilliant, satisfying, compassionate mystery that is as much about language and storytelling as it is about a missing father. I loved this book.”
—Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times bestselling author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
"I fell in love with the fascinating, brilliant family at the center of this riveting book. Ranging from the older daughter Mia, who is hyper-verbal, to the younger Eugene, who is unable to speak, this novel thoughtfully, compassionately explores the role language plays in how we love and accept one another. I'm so happy to have read it."
—Ann Napolitano, New York Times-bestselling author of Hello Beautiful
“There is a freshness and originality to Angie Kim’s work that brings joy to the reader. Sophomore efforts are notoriously difficult for writers, particularly after a debut like Miracle Creek. But rest assured, Happiness Falls is another superlative effort in what is fast shaping up to be a remarkable career.”
—#1 New York Times bestseller David Baldacci
“Brilliant, immersive, and deeply moving, Happiness Falls is more than just a fantastic story well told. It's a book that will change the way you think — a book that will change your life.”
—Julia Phillips, bestselling author of Disappearing Earth, finalist for the National Book Award
"Happiness Falls is a rarity: a riveting page turner about a missing man and a precise (and luminous) exploration of what it's like to be the teens he has left behind. The twists are surprising and the turns are moving. You will fall in love with this family—and this novel. It's a treasure."
— Chris Bohjalian, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Flight Attendant and The Lioness
“Happiness Falls is a riveting, revelatory masterpiece by one of the finest novelists working today. Angie Kim subverts the tropes of the missing-person narrative to explore the elemental mysteries: How do we define, much less enact, a good life? How does language shape and distort our interpretations of truth? What do we owe each other? I stayed up half the night to finish this novel, and when I woke in the morning, I turned back to the first page to begin again. It’s that good."
—Anthony Marra, New York Times-bestselling author of Mercury Pictures Presents and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
"If you don't like to feel things, stay far away from Angie Kim and Happiness Falls. Kim is a tremendous writer with a particular gift for conveying the dramatic churn of families in crisis, capturing big emotions with such observational acuity that they just blast right off the page. This book is a compelling mystery as well as a guide to managing the uncertainties of life and the challenges of family, the exquisite torture that so often accompanies unconditional love."
—Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay
"Happiness Falls is one of the best mystery novels ever written. Most mysteries delve into the mind of the killer, perhaps the victim, but Angie Kim strives to capture the universal. The result is what Dostoevsky might have written if he had been an American and also not a jerk. Happiness Falls is as turbulent and fast as a river, but in the end it lands the reader on new and unimaginable shores."
—Gary Shteyngart, New York Times-bestselling author of Our Country Friends
"A sublime literary mystery that is a mesmerizing update to the missing person story, a layered and innovative exploration of family, love, happiness and race. With dazzling intellectual range and tremendous warmth, Kim makes us fall in love with this close-knit family while spinning her suspenseful and twisty tale. A gorgeous read that grips both heart and mind."
—Jean Kwok, New York Times-bestselling author of Girl in Translation and Searching for Sylvie Lee
"What do you expect out of life? What do you deserve? Plus: whodunit? Happiness Falls is on the one hand a profound meditation on the meaning of life and the nature of happiness, while on the other hand a riveting mystery replete with suspense and peril. A remarkable achievement."
—Chris Pavone, New York Times-bestselling author of Two Nights in Lisbon
"An exhilarating literary tour de force—one part mystery, one part family drama, one part interrogation of the meaning of happiness, it will introduce you to extraordinary characters whose lives will leave you forever changed. An incredible achievement."
—Danielle Trussoni, New York Times-bestselling author of The Puzzle Master
"Angie Kim has written that rare book that can change your entire outlook on the world. Part page-turning mystery, part meditation on the power of expectation, Happiness Falls will both open your eyes and tear your heart apart."
—Janelle Brown, New York Times-bestselling author of Pretty Things