Things That Cause Inappropriate Happiness

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Pub Date 01 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 01 Jun 2024

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Description

Things that Cause Inappropriate Happiness is Danila Botha’s third collection of short fiction. In these brilliant stories she observes with her signature vulnerability and humour what it’s like to struggle to find your place in the world. From the bullied twelve-year-old (Born, Not Made) to the musician saved from sleeping in doorways (Blasting Molly Rockets), to the sculptor who builds a golem and fulfills her Holocaust survivor grandmother’s wish to protect her sister (Able to Pass) to a student who overdoses on opiates and meets an adult Anne Frank (Like An Alligator Eyeing a Small Fish), these stories pulse with Botha’s signature empathy and originality. Botha also addresses what it means to be Jewish, with characters who rethink their whole identity (Soulmates) to those who hold on at all costs (Dark and Lilac Fairies). As in her previous collection, the Trillium and Vine nominated For All the Men (and Some of the Women) I’ve Known, Things that Cause Inappropriate Happiness will make you laugh and cry, but above all it will make you feel less alone.

Things that Cause Inappropriate Happiness is Danila Botha’s third collection of short fiction. In these brilliant stories she observes with her signature vulnerability and humour what it’s like to...


Advance Praise

We humans: what an endless braid of tender, joyful, painful, loving emotional pas de deux we live. In these stories, Danila Botha examines the complex knotting and unknotting of these contemporary relationships with vivid insight, deep compassion, and unflinching incision. They are virtuoso variations about what makes us human, what makes us—and our stories—irresistible, moving and compelling. —Gary Barwin, award-winning author of Yiddish for Pirates, Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted, and co-author of duck eats yeast, quacks, explodes; man loses eye .

This book is pure, raw power. Like Botha’s other work, the stories in Things That Cause Inappropriate Happiness push against every boundary, offering unsettling glimpses into the wars women wage on their bodies, the messiness of finding and losing love, the self- sabotaging patterns that both propel and hold back. Botha is a master of balance, offering switchbacks between the pristine beauty of actual happiness paired with deep, unapologetic rage rooted in larger contexts like the patriarchy and historical genocides. Each story feels so real—the clear and authentic character voices often hold the power to reveal the exact essence of a character, sometimes in a single sentence. Though these stories capture a wide range of geographies and experiences, they always reflect on important, universal questions—where are the boundaries of forgiveness? Where is the line between two much and not enough? —Leesa Dean, author of Waiting for the Cyclone and Filling Station .


Powerful and searing glimpses into people’s most intimate emotions. Danila Botha’s writing makes the reader stop cold, sit up and listen. She expertly finds deceptively quiet moments in her characters’ lives, that by the end of her stories, reveal themselves to be more pivotal than we first realized. The characters in this collection will stay with me for a long time. An exquisite book. —Sidura Ludwig, author of the Danuta Gleed Award winning collection You Are Not What We Expected .

Incredibly deep and powerful … [the stories] feel like John Cheever’s “Reunion,” using what’s said and what’s not said to give us a novel’s worth of story … It’s a brilliant display of technical skill and a satisfying read, and [it] greatly impresses me. —JJ Dupuis, author of the Creature X Mystery series

This sparkling collection documents the inner lives of girls and women with vivid emotion and delicious attitude. Botha’s brilliant stories demand to be chewed on, mulled over, and talked about. Casting off the expectations of traditional style, they offer readers the comfort of generational wisdom and a clear-eyed view of our tumultuous present. —Carleigh Baker, award-winning author of Bad Endings, Mudlarkers and Last Woman.

 In these deft short stories, Danila Botha explores the desires of a cast of young, urban artists driven to escape their circumstances, from trendy Shakshuka bars to reality matchmaking shows to the horrors of the Holocaust. With fine prose and tender insight, Botha has written an indelible collection. —Kathy Friedman, author of All the Shining People.

We humans: what an endless braid of tender, joyful, painful, loving emotional pas de deux we live. In these stories, Danila Botha examines the complex knotting and unknotting of these...


Marketing Plan

Publicity campaigns in the US and Canada carried out by Guernica Editions.

Readings across Toronto & GTA, Montreal, other cities across Canada TBA.

Wide media outreach. The author is available for interviews. Media copies available upon request. 

Main launch in Toronto with Adath Israel Synagogue.

Publicity campaigns in the US and Canada carried out by Guernica Editions.

Readings across Toronto & GTA, Montreal, other cities across Canada TBA.

Wide media outreach. The author is available for...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781771838702
PRICE $18.95 (USD)
PAGES 244

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Average rating from 16 members


Featured Reviews

I have always loved short stories, and this collection did not disappoint. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into since the book description covers a lot of topics, but imagine my surprise when I could identify with almost every one. It is very heavily embedded with Jewish culture and I didn’t realize I how badly I needed this book in my life until I read it. Especially during these times when it’s so scary to be Jewish in the world.

It’s so hard to pull off short stories and do them well, and the author flawlessly executed each one. Some were in first person and some were in third, but it didn’t matter because I was immediately engaged and invested. I’ll definitely be checking out more of her work. Thank you to the author and publisher for the opportunity to review this ARC.

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In the realm of literature, Danila Botha's "Things That Cause Inappropriate Happiness" emerges as a poignant collection of short stories that delves into the complexities of human existence, evoking a range of emotions from laughter to tears. With her signature vulnerability and humor, Botha masterfully illuminates the struggles of individuals seeking their place in the world, leaving readers with a profound sense of empathy and connection. Botha's stories transcend conventional boundaries, encompassing diverse characters and situations that resonate with universal themes. From the bullied twelve-year-old in "Born, Not Made" to the musician saved from homelessness in "Blasting Molly Rockets," Botha's characters grapple with adversity with remarkable resilience. The sculptor who constructs a golem to fulfill her grandmother's wish in "Able to Pass" encapsulates the power of memory and the enduring bonds of family. Furthermore, Botha explores the complexities of Jewish identity through her characters' introspective journeys. In "Soulmates," a character reexamines their entire identity, while in "Dark and Lilac Fairies," another clings steadfastly to their heritage. These stories provoke contemplation on what it means to belong and the myriad ways in which individuals navigate their cultural roots. Just as in her previous collection, "For All the Men (and Some of the Women) I've Known," Botha's "Things That Cause Inappropriate Happiness" elicits a kaleidoscope of emotions. Laughter and tears intertwine as readers connect with the deeply human experiences depicted in each story. However, beyond the emotional resonance, Botha's work imparts a profound sense of connection, reminding readers that they are not alone in their struggles and triumphs. In summary, Danila Botha's "Things That Cause Inappropriate Happiness" is an exceptional collection of short stories exploring the human experience's depths with vulnerability, humor, and empathy. Botha's characters and narratives transcend boundaries, inviting readers to reflect on their own lives and identities. This collection is a testament to the power of literature to evoke a range of emotions and foster a sense of togetherness in the face of life's complexities.

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I don't always read short stories, but when I do I like them to be a little on edge and these were. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review

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This collection of short stories was emotional and wonderfully human. I found it hard to connect with most of the details (as I am not the target audience), but the ideas were intriguing and the writing was well done.

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