In the unlikeliest of encounters - caused by an errant fox on a London bridge - Attila Asare, a Ghanaian psychiatrist in the city to attend a conference, briefly collides with Jean Turane, an American scientist studying urban foxes. However, it is their next meeting that has more significance and using her network of volunteer fox-spotters, Jean is able to help Attila in his search for a young boy caught up in an immigration crackdown.
Carefully observing the interconnectedness of our lives, this is a multifaceted story of the many and varied inhabitants of a vibrant and complex city, including the wildlife that calls it home. [Small font]
A really enjoyable book. Really enjoyed the narrative of urban foxes and migrants all woven into a love story, and human suffering.
Loved this book. Very thought provoking and a somewhat different consideration on what makes us human.
Some loved this book - others found it hard going. Our discussion about our own view of happiness was great though!
Our group has just read Happiness by Aminatta Forna. As with all good book clubs there was a range of opinions on the book, but we all enjoyed the quality of her writing and her descriptions of the different London communities, the influx of nature into the urban environment and the conflict it brings. Some felt that there were too many characters, but they were all moving ahead with their lives, in particular the two main characters who were likable and interesting. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened to them, and the ending was satisfying.
The club enjoyed the book. Some found the animal/fox parts intriguing, while others enjoyed the London part of the story especially the African characters. Well-written and a bit different.
Very well-written and descriptive book. A complex story of interwoven lives between a woman researching urban foxes, and a psychiatrist working with war victims. Was enjoyed by most of our group.
Everyone loved this book. Beautiful writing with unusual twists in the plot. Several members now reading other titles by this author. A favourite book for our group.
We all loved this book. Such a gem!
This was a polarising book for our group, half of us enjoyed it but some found it depressing. It stimulated a lively discussion over the definition of happiness. It was a dense and complicated book with many layers and such interesting characters.
We loved this gentle telling of this story - characters seemed believable and realistic. A great read.
Astonishing how she drew the 'threads' together. very real. A lot to learn from it. Beautiful and clever writing.
A beautifully written book that explores many sides of several questions. Urban animals and the destruction of habitat, immigrants, human interaction with nature and each other. The use of a different font to tell the backstories was helpful and helped with understanding. The characters were real and we wanted to meet them! We felt we knew them and we cared about their outcomes.
A book with many layers and themes. It covers every type of relationship; people, animals, places, ages, ethnicity etc. A clever book which made us question our values.
We all found this an interesting book and well-written. Led us to discussing the nature of happiness.
Led to one of the best discussions we've had this year. Some members felt the stories were too disjointed, while others commended the author for her theme of displacement and hope - by the people and the animals in the story.
A busy book with lots happening!
We loved the book. It is beautifully written with very interesting themes, re being careful observers and the development of resilience in people and animals.
This book scored the highest rating collectively from our group in our history. All enjoyed the lovely writing, but like other groups, felt the title was an interesting fit. Discussion was lively around the different themes and thought-provoking questions.
Not all members enjoyed this book - those who read it and found it great were re-reading it! Many themes explored - too many? We felt the title not appropriate for the book!
One of the best books we've had. A very lively discussion, so many subplots. We thought it would make a great movie.
We all thoroughly enjoyed this book, which initially sounded an unlikely subject. Good discussion, and recommendations to read other books by the same author.
We all absolutely loved this book and voted it the best this year to date. It ticked every box - a beautifully layered story exposing so many facets of life and how we react to them, to nature and to different ethnicities. Brilliantly told and written. Excellent notes. Aminatta Forna is a 'real' author. Earlier we had read 'A Hired Man' - another AF story.
Overall it was felt this was a complicated book and required a good memory - one or two took notes while reading and two did not finish it. Those who persevered, enjoyed it.
Enjoyed by most.
Quite a good read, thought-provoking.
Everyone enjoyed this book. The author managed to combine many complicated threads and bring them to a satisfactory conclusion. Clever but very readable. We also enjoyed 'The Hired Man' but felt this one was even better.
One of the group's favourite reads. We enjoyed the co-relation between animals and humans and found it was a very skilfully written book, with deep appreciation for characterisation. It painted a vivid and multilayered portrait of London and generated consideration of the little things that give us happiness. We read this during the lockdown due to Covid-19 when wild animals are increasingly being seen in cities, which made it even more relevant and poignant. Keen to read other works by this author.
The majority of the group enjoyed the read. A number of thought provoking themes emerged throughout the book. 2 people found it tedious and wordy. Overall an easy read. Group discussion was on characters and themes, not specific questions.