In The Half-life of Happiness, National Book Award winner John Casey brings us a family portrait rendered with masterful precision--and unwavering compassion. On a spring afternoon in Virginia, progressive attorney Mike Reardon strolls downtown Charlottesville feeling terrific. He surveys the elements in his appealing life: filmmaker wife Joss, his clever and canny daughters, the bohemian characters that share his seven-acre haven on the Rivanna River.
But Mike's blissful certainty is to be short-lived. A friend's suicide and Joss's affair with a mercurial woman turn Mike's world upside-down. Then Mike discovers the erotic quicksilver of the political campaign and so begins a farcical run for office that consumes all their lives. Here too—through Casey's brilliant rendering of Mike's sensitive, perceptive daughters—is the story of two children who grow up painfully aware of their parents' strengths and weaknesses. Superbly plotted, buoyed with humor and hope, The Half-life of Happiness embraces the accidents and choices that shape our lives and the lives of those we love.
"[Casey] is an astute observer of the ruses as well as the private confrontations that govern our behavior." —The Washington Post Book World
"Riveting and beautifully written." —San Francisco Chronicle-Examiner
"A major novelist at the top of his form, Casey captures not only the texture of individual lives, but the shape and momentum of all lives that begin with the best intentions, then stray off course. . . . A wise and forgiving book as well as an entertaining one." —Chicago Tribune