Double Happiness by Mary-Beth Hughes
Stories

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Synopsis

Best-selling author Mary-Beth Hughes delivers a seductive, deeply human, and sophisticated collection about the universal need to be loved, and the complicated imperfections that jeopardize the ties that bind us.

The stories in Double Happiness are extraordinary portrayals of the ordinariness of life. By pinpointing those moments of discord when personal needs and morality clash with circumstances beyond our control, Hughes challenges our concepts of responsibility, trust, resilience, and betrayal. In “Pelican Song,” a thirty-year-old modern dancer who moonlights as a movie–ticket taker visits her parent’s picturesque home to discover that her stepfather has begun mistreating her too-accommodating mother; “Horse” follows maladjusted honeymooners in Atlantic City whose romantic weekend is saved from emotional catastrophe by a horse that refuses to dive from its pedestal into the ocean; and a holiday in New York City turns from shopping sprees to a young girl’s sharp discovery of her father’s secret life in “Rome.”

With an elegant blend of humor and pathos, Hughes captures the turning points in relationships that make us wonder how well we really know those we love. Double Happiness is a revealing meditation on the fragility of contentment and the lengths we must go to in order to sustain it.
 

About Mary-Beth Hughes

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Mary-Beth Hughes has published short stories in Ploughshares and The Georgia Review. Formerly a modern dancer, she has a B.A. from Marymount Manhattan College and has completed residences at the Yaddo and Bennington College writting seminars. Wavemaker II is her first novel.
 
Published June 1, 2010 by Grove Press, Black Cat. 225 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Double Happiness

Kirkus Reviews

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Everything about this slender collection of 11 stories from Hughes (Wavemaker II, 2001) rings true except for its ironic title.

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The New York Times

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A 21st-century malaise has taken hold of these stories’ characters, many of whom are skeptical of their own goodness.

Jun 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Double Happiness: Stories

The New Yorker

“My mother called him sweet George over and over,” the girl says, “which is not his name, not a name I’d ever heard before.” If some of Hughes’s stories can initially seem scattered or arbitrary, further reading nearly always discloses careful but unobtrusive organization, giving even the saddest...

Aug 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Double Happiness: Stories

Reader Rating for Double Happiness
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