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A public intellectual who will shame the devil in the interests of truth, Brian Fawcett has staunchly refused to buy into the prevailing techno-corporate ethos that defines our culture today. With Human Happiness, Fawcett has taken another leap into unexplored territory. Where previously Fawcett has explored such topics as globalization and the role of the media, this time he turns the lens inward to search for the meaning of happiness by examining the mysteries of marriage and family.
Featuring prose that is often painfully candid and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, Human Happiness is a story-driven narrative centered around the seemingly happy marriage between Fawcett’s parents, about how families really work (or don’t), about the intergenerational conflicts that seem inevitable between headstrong fathers and sons, and how old hostilities can poison and distort through generations and -- in extraordinary cases -- can be resolved.
For 25 years now, Brian Fawcett has been Canada’s most unconventional writer and public intellectual, a man Paul Quarrington described as our literature's enfant terrible and eminence gris rolled into one. His true gift is for making readers laugh while raising the most fundamental questions that face us. He might be Canada's most original writer.
everyone’s life, and usually a suppressed part. I inherited both my mother’s bullshit detector, which was the most extraordinary piece of equipment life conferred on her, and my father’s inability to suffer fools quietly even when I’m the fool. I also have, thanks to modern digital photography, an unusually large collection of family photographs, along with a trick that has helped me to penetrate their surfaces: I enlarge them to 8 1/2 x 11, which lets me peruse them at a level of detail not
place in your world in that way.” He gave me a look that told me he was trying to figure out if I was setting him up again. “As I told you,” he said, carefully, and momentarily without any upper case, “I was happiest Building my Empire. I was a Builder. For me, that all came crashing down when my two heirs took off on me.” There was a long silence as I let this ancient piece of family mayhem rest in front of us both. For sure, I had no answer, at least not one he’d accept. I looked up and into
mother, who he half believed hadn’t ever adequately connected with him because, well, she’d preferred me or my sisters. This had come up in the last few days at the hospice, and I’d tried to explain to him that she’d always practised a scrupulous emotional democracy amongst us, and that what he saw as her lack of interest was the dynamic of having had three children within 18 months of one another, of whom the elder two were identical twins and he was, by nature as well as seniority, the
way. Hmm, I thought, almost regretfully. My trip into the infinite present that precedes oblivion is about to be interrupted. I’m going to survive. I’m not going to drown. It occurred to me later that day that, along with Jason and the surfer, it was shame and not will that saved me from drowning. That’s interesting in a counter–Ayn Rand sort of way, I suppose. But in the practical world, the relevant item was that I didn’t drown, and not only did I not drown, I didn’t even have to bear the
generations ago or last week were victimized along with us, and sometimes we seek amnesty from those we or our forebears have oppressed. Sometimes we and they, oppressed and oppressor, are one and the same. Hartley Fawcett and Rita Surry experienced few of these things, but they had more singular ambitions for themselves than most people today. They undertook to build an entirely new world, and sometimes deliberately and sometimes indifferently, they turned their backs on everything that for us