The Promise of Happiness by Justin Cartwright
A Novel

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Synopsis

A powerful elegy to the intimacies and idiocies of family, The Promise of Happiness tells the story of an apparently ordinary family on the cusp of an extraordinary moment: the return of the family's prodigal daughter, Juliet. Her release from an upstate New York prison throws the Judds, formerly of London but now scattered, back together.

For her father, Juliet's conviction for a theft she may not have committed had proven the disintegration of a dying society. For her mother, it is a source not only of resentment, but bafflement. And for all of the Judds, it is a moment of both intense joy and confusion.

As Justin Cartwright's novel opens, Juliet's parents await her release and return to England. Charlie, their capable and successful son, has been charged with collecting her and softening her reentry into the world, his own life unsettled meanwhile by his glamorous girlfriend's pregnancy and his ambivalence towards it. Sophie, the youngest and most rebellious sibling, is in the midst of getting her chaotic life (mostly) under control. And Juliet herself is wounded, the perfect daughter made scapegoat for a victimless crime.

With searching perception and gentle humor, Justin Cartwright gradually reveals the inner struggles of the five disparate Judds as they grapple with their conflicting feelings for each other and the moral dilemmas that beset them, bringing them finally together in what is ultimately a celebration of the layers and universal oddness of the love of a family.

 

About Justin Cartwright

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Justin Cartwright has won the Whitbread Prize, for which he has been shortlisted five times; he has also been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the South African M-Net Prize, and the CNA Prize. This is his eighth novel and the third he has published in the U.S. He lives in London.
 
Published December 27, 2005 by Thomas Dunne Books. 321 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Promise of Happiness

Publishers Weekly

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Cartwright's hilarious, despairing, rapier-sharp third book (Leading the Cheers) delivers a great deal of the absent titular emotion. The five members of the

Nov 14 2005 | Read Full Review of The Promise of Happiness: A N...

The New York Times

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Justin Cartwright has written a beautifully observed, emotionally detailed novel about one family's decline and regeneration.

Apr 07 2006 | Read Full Review of The Promise of Happiness: A N...

The New York Times

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A British comedy about a family struggling to prevent its own disintegration.

Jan 08 2006 | Read Full Review of The Promise of Happiness: A N...

Book Reporter

Review. The Promise of Happiness. by Justin Cartwright. There are many
different types of ... philosophizing" so that by the time the book has concluded, its

Aug 30 2014 | Read Full Review of The Promise of Happiness: A N...

Deseret News

They don't say there's acceptable stealing and bad stealing.

Jan 15 2006 | Read Full Review of The Promise of Happiness: A N...

Bookmarks Magazine

Seattle Times 4 of 5 Stars"The novel is studded with these delightful bonbons, but they never detract nor distract from the high purpose of the novel, which is to illuminate the workings, the bond, and the intimacy of a family faced with a crisis, trying to understand why and how it happened, try...

Aug 29 2007 | Read Full Review of The Promise of Happiness: A N...

Reader Rating for The Promise of Happiness
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