War, love, and loss abound in Nicole Seitzís latest novel, A Hundred Years of Happiness. Within its pages, the author of Trouble the Water gently weaves the stories of her various characters with themes of forgiveness and truth. Poetic Vietnamese proverbs introduce the reader to each section of the book and reveal a deeper theme.
Katherine Annís father hasnít seemed the same since connections to the war started popping up in his life, but Katherine is determined not to let him confront the past alone. Meanwhile Lisa struggles to help care for her depressed Vietnamese mother and somewhere far away, the consciousness of a man who holds all the answers lingers in a hidden mountain.
Seitz writes with a soft clarity that makes heart-rendering situations somehow beautiful. The concept of A Hundred Years of Happiness is also one of the most interesting that I have encountered among war fiction in many years. The way characters in this novel face the pain and love of the past serves as a good example to readers. Although the plot doesnít always seem to add up, by the last chapter each puzzle piece does fall into its allotted place.
A Hundred Years of Happiness isnít just a book for those interested in the intricacies war. It tackles the fear a woman has of meeting a lover from her husbandís past, the importance of support groups, cultural norms, and how sometimes itís only by stepping through the veil of pain that we encounter peace. Although the book doesnít blatantly include God as a force among its cast of characters, Deuteronomy 31:6 would suffice as a good summary for it. ďBe strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.Ē Ė Lauren Richwine, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
In the South Carolina Lowcountry, a young mother named Katherine Ann is struggling to help her tempestuous father by†plunging into a world of secrets he never talks about. A fry cook named Lisa is trying desperately to reach her grieving Vietnamese mother who has never fully adjusted to life in the States. And somewhere far away, a lost soul named Ernest is drifting, treading water, searching for what he lost on a long-ago mountain.
They're all yearning for connection. For the war that touched them to finally end. For their hundred years of happiness at long last to begin.
From the beloved author of The Spirit of Sweetgrass† and Trouble the Water comes this generous story of family, war, loss, and longing . . . of the ways we hide from those we love, and the ways that love finds us anyway.