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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.
was an integral part of the contract between them, and crucial to its strength. She believed it was her job to cover the things he wasn’t good at, and she did her job even when it infuriated him. There was a cost attached. Even at this stage of their marriage, both of them respected the contract with more enthusiasm than they did the person they’d made it with. I liked it when my mother worked. Whenever she was working she was more cheerful at home, and more energetic for months afterward. And
Rules approach is just fine. As we pull off the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway and drive south through the strip malls that ring downtown Kingston, I mention to him that what we’re about to do is probably illegal. “This is military property we’ll be littering,” I say. “Or polluting.” “Why don’t we just walk in and tell them what we’d like to do?” he suggests. “Maybe they’ll give us a military escort and a 21-gun salute.” “And maybe they’ll tie us up in red tape for five years, or throw us in their
weekly garbage pickup. The Omega doesn’t keep very accurate time, but the wristband is elegant, and it reminds me, whenever I put it on, of Ronald Surry’s self-inflicted unhappiness, and how I shouldn’t live my life. Chess Game MY FATHER was a chess player. He wasn’t a very good one, but he understood what the game was about, and he challenged everyone to play him. Most of his grandchildren learned the game from him, and were drubbed mercilessly until one by one, they learned enough to play up
fries, other methods were now employed: sliced and cooked with milk, hash browns. His lecturing tone let me know he thought the questions were frivolous. I understood what was going on: he was trying to give me nothing but philosophy, and as few facts as he could, even if he had to lie. I knew, for instance, that he liked potatoes boiled, and not quite fully cooked. I was also waiting for—and dreading—the Barley Max lecture, which he was entertaining himself by selling to everyone who came near
Something else. The empirical observer in me has noticed that most people today think about happiness the same way art critics see still life painting: as a fixed state in which a nexus of static objects supposedly sheds an aura of light and exactness that evokes a summarizing kind of external meaning, usually in the form of a slogan. Life Is Short; Life Is Beautiful; Pleasure Is Fleeting; Don’t Worry, Be Happy. At its core, still life is a distortion. If it were language, it would make