Henry Holt
(August 2017)



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Heather Harpham

The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

When Heather met Brian in New York City, she was a footloose performer and writer from Northern California. He was a writer and teacher who adhered to an unwavering and stripped-down routine: same outfit every day, same dinner every evening. Opposites immediately attracted, but their love affair was fraught with the question of how art can accommodate family life. When Heather accidentally became pregnant, their bond was tested, then broken: Brian did not want to parent. She did. Heartbroken, Heather returned to Marin County to have and raise her baby alone with only Lulu the Wonder Dog for company.

But the baby – Gracie, beloved, who “smelled like sliced apple and salted pretzels, like the innocent, recent arrival from a saline world that she was” – is born with an undiagnosable, potentially fatal blood disease. As Brian and Heather begin a cautious return to each other, they learn that the sole cure for Gracie's illness is a bone marrow transplant, with an as-yet-nonexistent sibling as a donor. But should two people who did not plan for one child have another? What would this do to their fragile reunion? In the landscape of their lives, a happy ending is a moving target that morphs from true love's fruition, to keeping your child alive, to retaining one's sanity in a tiny circle of Hell.

Profoundly moving and subtly written, HAPPINESS has the narrative power of MY SISTER'S KEEPER and the lyrical wisdom of WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR – a love story that radiates out in multiple directions, including that of new, romantic love, the gratitude for a beautiful world, of deep and abiding friendship, and the passion of a parent for their child.

Heather Harpham is a writer, teacher, and physical theater performer whose fiction, essays and reviews appeared in MORE Magazine and Water~Stone Review. Her writing for the stage includes six solo plays, the most recent of which, Happiness and BURNING, have toured nationally and been produced internationally in Kathmandu, Nepal. Harpham's work has been recognized with the Brenda Ueland Prose Prize, a Marin Arts Council Independent Artist Grant, and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She lives twelve miles north of New York City with her family. Harpham teaches in the theater departments at Sarah Lawrence College and SUNY Purchase.

Available Rights

Language Territory Type Agency Client
German World Book Christian Dittus
Fritz AG


8. May 2017, Quote
Recently, memoirs by such dazzling writers as Ann Patchett and Dani Shapiro have explored and illuminated happiness: what it means, how we find it, and how hard won it can sometimes be. Now add Heather Harpham and Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Sem


8. May 2017, Quote
At first glance, Happiness is a wry, honest, captivating story about parenting a sick child and that would be enough. But it turns out that Harpham is up to something even more interesting here, exploring the complexities of love. Told with abundant charm


8. May 2017, Quote
An extraordinary and bewitching book, Happiness has staked a claim among the most beautiful and moving portraits of parenthood and partnership. -- Susan Cheever, bestselling author of Treetops: A Memoir, and Home before Dark


8. May 2017, Foreign licence
China: CITIC; Czech: Euromedia; Slovakia: Ikar


8. May 2017, Foreign licence
UK: Oneworld


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