On my list of top ten all-time favorite books is a book I read in 2000, The Half-Life of Happiness by John Casey. It’s a novel about a marriage and a family, but I haven’t read it since then and can no longer remember any specifics. My yellow highlights, which I’ve since given up in favor of whatever pen or pencil I can find at the moment, have faded, almost to the color of the yellowed pages of the novel. 2000 doesn’t seem that long ago, and yet if you think of yourself as being eight years older….
I’ve never read anything else by John Casey, and I’m not sure why. Checking the internet, it doesn’t appear that he’s had any other books published since 1998, when The Half-Life of Happiness came out. Spartina, published in 1989, won the National Book Award for that year. Testimony and Demeanor was originally published in 1979 and reissued in 2005.
“Garden tools, canoe paddles and fishing gear, their daughters’ toys and sports equipment, Joss’ movie gear…the girls’ wardrobes….All these things spilled from closets and racks and chests so that the whole house was a series of partly assembled kits for family happiness. The house, like their marriage, was a place for storing years that weren’t ever quite what was planned but which he believed might still be made whole by someone turning up with the missing piece.”
The Half-Life of Happiness is going to the top of my reread pile.