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Often I Am Happy


When Ellinor addresses her best friend Anna, she does not expect a reply. Anna has been dead for forty years, killed in the same skiing accident that claimed Henning: Ellinor’s first husband and Anna’s lover.

Ellinor instead tells her that Georg has died – Georg who was once Anna’s, but whom Ellinor came to love in her place, and whom she came to care for, along with Anna’s two infant sons. Yet with Georg’s death Ellinor finds herself able to cut the ties of her assumed life with surprising ease.

Returning to the area of Copenhagen where she grew up, away from the adopted comfort of the home she shared with Georg, Ellinor finds herself addressing her own history: her marriage to Henning, their seemingly charmed friendship with the newly-wed Anna and Georg, right back to her own mother's story – a story of heartbreaking pride.

Because there are some secrets – both our own and of others – that we can only share with the dead. Secrets that nonetheless shape who we are and who we love. Often I Am Happy by Jens Christian Grøndahl is a profoundly moving work of fiction.

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Résumé

When Ellinor addresses her best friend Anna, she does not expect a reply. Anna has been dead for forty years, killed in the same skiing accident that claimed Henning: Ellinor’s first husband and Anna’s lover.

Ellinor instead tells her that Georg has died – Georg who was once Anna’s, but whom Ellinor came to love in her place, and whom she came to care for, along with Anna’s two infant sons. Yet with Georg’s death Ellinor finds herself able to cut the ties of her assumed life with surprising ease.

Returning to the area of Copenhagen where she grew up, away from the adopted comfort of the home she shared with Georg, Ellinor finds herself addressing her own history: her marriage to Henning, their seemingly charmed friendship with the newly-wed Anna and Georg, right back to her own mother's story – a story of heartbreaking pride.

Because there are some secrets – both our own and of others – that we can only share with the dead. Secrets that nonetheless shape who we are and who we love. Often I Am Happy by Jens Christian Grøndahl is a profoundly moving work of fiction.

Biographie de Jens Christian Grøndahl

Jens Christian Grøndahl was born in 1959 in Copenhagen. After studying philosophy, he was trained as a film director at The National Danish Film School. His first novel was published in 1985. He is the author of nineteen novels, seven volumes of essays and three children’s books. Several novels of his have been shortlisted for the IMPAC Prize, the Prix Médici Étranger and the Prix Fémina Étranger. His novels in English translation include Silence in October, Lucca, Virginia and An Altered Light. He lives in Copenhagen with his wife and two daughters.

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