HOW FAR WILL WE GO TO DENY THE DARKER SIDE OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS? HOW MUCH WILL WE RISK TO BE HAPPY? After many lonely years and alarming Internet dates, Claire Kessler, an artist and self-proclaimed homebody, believed she had found the perfect man. Jay was earnest, romantic, and gainfully employed, and within a year they were married. Less than two years later, Jay had killed himself. On Valentine's Day. "Happy Now? "follows Claire's chaotic and often tragicomic journey through the weeks that follow her husband's suicide. Nomie, Claire's pregnant younger sister, welcomes Claire into her guesthouse and abandons her own husband in solidarity. Claire's father turns into a concerned stalker, trailing her every movement. Encounters with well-meaning therapists go horribly awry, and Jay's abandoned cat goes on a hunger strike. All the while, Jay's suicide note lurks on the coffee table, waiting for Claire to gather the courage to read it. As she struggles to confront the truth about her marriage, Claire also struggles to negotiate life as a young widow--the well-intentioned remarks, the sympathy bouquets, and the terrifying prospect of dating (and loving) again. With wit and compassion, Katherine Shonk explores both the possibilities and the limitations of human relationships. "Happy Now? "is an uncommonly honest portrait of love, loss, and letting go.
KATHERINE SHONK is the author of "The Red Passport," a "Chicago Tribune "Best Book of the Year. Her writing has appeared in "Best American Short Stories "and "Tin House." She works as an editor and writer for Harvard University and lives in Chicago with her husband.