13.5.09

State of Happiness by Stella Duffy


This is the first book by Stella Duffy that I have read and I'm so pleased that I did as I have found yet another new author to love! I have to admit that Stella Duffy's books always catch my eye as they have such wonderful front covers; now I know that what is inside is even better!
State of Happiness is the story of two young lovers. Cindy Frier is a cartographer living in New York; her thesis turned into a best-selling book, turning her into a very successful published writer. Jack Stratton is originally from Manchester but relocated New York in order to pursue his career as a news editor for television. These two meet at a dinner party thrown by Cindy's best friend Kelly and the attraction is pretty instant. They very quickly fall into a relationship and the first half of the book deals with them getting to know each other and finding their way on this new journey they are starting.
They have been together for several years when Jack is offered a dream job opportunity in L.A. so they make the decision to move there together and start a new life. This is where the tone of the books shifts as Cindy becomes seriously ill. It is difficult not to give too much away but the second part of the book follows Cindy and Jack as they try to deal with her illness and the huge impact that it has on them.
Duffy takes you into the mind of both Jack and Cindy throughout the book, we hear their thoughts and fears and obviously these are magnified when Cindy becomes ill. I thought that the author captured all the nuances that occur in relationships so well; we hear Cindy's thoughts when Jack is late home, should she start a row or just get on with things now he is finally home? Jack feeling angry with himself for being angry at Cindy for being ill. This is a very simple technique really but extremely clever as it helps the reader to identify with the situation and characters.
Cindy's job and skills as a cartographer are integral to the story; the book is interspersed with extracts from her book and her thoughts and ideas for new projects and concepts. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book; the idea that two people on parallel journeys are able to come together in some way whilst still remaining separate entities. Stella Duffy's style of writing completely drew me in and I had great difficulty in putting this book down. It did make me cry as you get a real sense of the sheer frustration of Jack and Cindy's situation but it also gave me an awful lot to think about. I love it when a book does that!

8 comments:

writemeg said...

Sounds awesome! :) Your review was great. I love when the main characters have "different" jobs -- like a cartographer? I would never have expected that! And contemporary fiction/romances that deal with far more than just the main relationship are awesome. I'll definitely look for this one! Just hope it doesn't end sadly :(

Dot said...

Thanks Meg! I really like it when characters have different jobs too, it just makes them just that little bit more interesting! I think Stella Duffy is going to become one of my favourite authors, I thought this book was great.

Jo said...

I loved The Room of Lost Things and this one sounds good too! I've got this from the library waiting to be read

Dot said...

Jo- I think that I am going to try and read The Room of Lost Things next- I have only heard good things about it!

Savidge Reads said...

I am glad you liked this I am a big big fan of Stella's work and everything I have read of hers I have enjoyed, this book, The Room of Lost Things and Singling Out The Couples are probably my favourites... though I am unbelieveable excited about her foray into the historical published in 2010!

Dot said...

Simon- that sounds exciting! I did really enjoy this, I love finding a new author, I am going to try The Room of Lost Things next. Hope you've had a good weekend!

farmlanebooks said...

I've heard so many good things about this book. I'll have to try to get a copy soon.

Dot said...

farmlanebooks- I did really enjoy it- I was so pleased that Stella Duffy has written other books that I will also be able to try.

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