SO HAPPY IT HURTS, the debut novel from acclaimed writer Anneliese Mackintosh, is published today by Jonathan Cape, and in audiobook by Audible.
'I want to be a good person. And I want to be happy. So happy it hurts. I need you to help me with that.’
Ottila McGregor is thirty years old and has decided it’s time to sort her life out. She’s going to quit drinking, stop cheating and finally find true happiness. Easy, right?
Of course not.
For a start, there’s Grace, her best friend, who believes self-improvement is for people in their forties. Next there’s Mina, her sister, who is mentally ill, and it might be Ottila’s fault. And then there’s Thales, the Greek guy who works in the hospital cafeteria. He's probably the best, most dangerous person Ottila’s ever met.
To make sense of it all, Ottila keeps a scrapbook of everything: emails, receipts, tickets, letters, her therapy transcripts, a boyfriend's note rescued from the bin... The result is an infectious one-off of a novel that makes you wince and laugh in equal measure, and which asks the question: what does it take to be so happy it hurts?
Her debut short story collection, ANY OTHER MOUTH, was published by Freight Books in June 2014. It has received incredible reviews including “Mackintosh is a real talent and Any Other Mouth is a remarkable debut” from The Independent, and “beautifully crafted snapshots… one of the UK’s most exciting new voices” from The List. It won the Green Carnation Prize, was shortlisted for the Saltire Society’s First Book Award, in the Best Short Story Collection category for the 2015 Saboteur Awards and Edge Hill Short Story Prize, and longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.
Rights have sold in France, Germany and Holland.
Praise for SO HAPPY IT HURTS:
‘Impressive and challenging…this debut novel is every bit as assured, honest and innovative as its predecessor. For a start the structure is highly original. Like Mackintosh’s previous work, SO HAPPY IT HURTS is something out of a high wire act, laugh-out-loud funny at times but also so emotionally honest that it sometimes feels like a punch to the guts. Thrilling, edgy without ever seeming gimmicky, making this as sharp a novella about 21st century living as you’ll find anywhere.’ – Doug Johnstone, The Big Issue
‘The novel balances irony and earnestness perfectly, offering both a heartbreakingly sincere quest for happiness and an acerbic intolerance of hollow quick-fixes. Told through a scrapbook of letters, emails, Snapchats, therapy transcripts and text messages, Mackintosh builds a novel out of the language we actually use day to day. More than anything though, her characters bring it to life. Maybe it’s the intimacy of revealing them through their private messages, maybe it’s just how powerfully Mackintosh draws them and what they mean to Ottila, but the effect is so strong and the threat of some new catastrophe so tangible that each page turn feels like a horrible gamble with these people’s lives. When it hurts, it really fucking hurts. But when it’s happy, Anneliese Mackintosh’s latest work is positively radiant.’ – The Skinny
‘Inventive and wise and very affecting. There’s a deep human experience in it.’ – Jason Donald, author of CHOKE CHAIN