And Yet They Were Happy by Helen Phillips

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"Brilliant miniatures. . . . Like the fables of Calvino, Millhauser, or W.S. Merwin. . . . Beautifully blends short story and prose poem. . . . Mermaids, subways, floods, cucumbers, magicians. . . .The book is a gallery of marvels. Phillips guides us through the 'Hall of Nostalgia For Things We Have Never Seen,' 'the factory where the virgins are made,' and 'the Anne Frank School for Expectant Mothers.' A depressed Noah admits he 'didn't get them all,' a wife guesses which of two identical men is her husband, a regime orders citizens to grow raspberries on windowsills. [Helen Phillips'] quietly elegant sentences are as clear as spring water, haunting as our own childhood memories."—Michael Dirda

"A deeply interesting mind is at work in these wry, lyrical stories. Phillips exploits the duality of our nature to create a timeless and most engaging collection."—Amy Hempel

"Haunted and lyrical and edible all at once."—Rivka Galchen

A young couple sets out to build a life together in an unstable world haunted by monsters, plagued by disasters, full of longing—but also one of transformation, wonder, and delight, peopled by the likes of Noah, Bob Dylan, the Virgin Mary, and Anne Frank. Hovering between reality and fantasy, whimsy and darkness, these linked fables describe a universe both surreal and familiar.

Helen Phillips received a 2009 Rona Jaffe Writer's Award, 2009 Meridian Editors' Prize, and 2008 Italo Calvino Fabulist Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in many literary journals and two anthologies. She holds degrees from Yale University and Brooklyn College, and teaches creative writing at Brooklyn College.


About Helen Phillips

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HELEN PHILLIPS is the recipient of a 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award, the 2009 Meridian Editors' Prize, and the 2008 Italo Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction.
Published May 17, 2011 by Leapfrog Press. 316 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for And Yet They Were Happy

Kirkus Reviews

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The story of the world unfolds in bursts of imagination, tied together with the flavor and thematic structure of fables.

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Publishers Weekly

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The narrator of "fight #5" invites a statue of the Virgin Mary to a cup of tea, only to feel sharp disappointment at Mary's remarks regarding the narrator's emotional needs.

Feb 07 2011 | Read Full Review of And Yet They Were Happy (Leap...

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

It’s really incredible how much story, love, and Life can fit into that small of a space.

Aug 03 2011 | Read Full Review of And Yet They Were Happy (Leap...

Story Circle Book Reviews

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Jun 27 2012 | Read Full Review of And Yet They Were Happy (Leap...

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