“I can’t believe I have lived my life for thirty years distracted by arrogant thoughts, subdued by things that do not matter, so much so that my existential dread has had to be activated by a maniac kidnapping me and feeding me fat. I think of all the times I was happy and profound guilt portends over me. I can’t believe I was so peaceful, calm and had the nerve to ask You for silly things. Just last week, I was thinking about how I needed to change my car. See how disgustingly happy I was. Look at me now…….Look at me now……” – Edify Yakusak in The Curse of Happiness
This book is surely a box full of pleasant surprises. I must confess the cover doesn’t do it justice and based on that I had mentally relegated it to the back of the long queue of books on my TBR but by a stroke of luck I picked it up and I was hooked.
“The Curse Of Happiness” is a collection of 8 short stories which mostly depict the ‘dark’ side of things when ordinary people are faced with challenging circumstances.
From the first story, “Baby, Blue, Joy” which is about a woman who has been waiting for years to have a baby and after she is blessed with her bundle of joy, struggles with postpartum depression, to the last one, “What Is Mine, Is Yours” where a man who mostly works offshore, graciously allows his cousin who has accommodation issues to live in his house especially when he is hardly around. He returns home to find that he is a stranger and a suspected burglar in his own home. The author cleverly tells these realistic but unsettling tales about how and where everyday people tend to find themselves (physically, mentally and socially) when faced with trauma, illness, pain, fear and fate. I would describe her writing as vivid, shocking but fluid and I am already a fan.
My favorites are “Baby, Blue, Joy”, “A Little Kindness” , “Spinning In Circles”, “A Cold Star” and “What Is Mine , Is Yours”. All the stories are dark and in some cases quite scary to me. Naturally, it should be hard for me to say that I loved them but I did. I was pulled into this whirlwind of emotions that I can not fully explain, keeping me at the edge of my bed and making me let out screams that made my husband give concerned looks in my direction. My heart broke many times but I still had the nerve to continue reading on until I got to the last page.
My least favorite was “The Visitation” because I couldn’t really relate to the story. However, it was still a good read.
As a mother, I was particularly moved by the first story which is about a woman with postpartum depression and the fact that in our society, people don’t recognize or acknowledge that most new mothers go through this phase. I am glad that the author has written about this (although this was extreme in my opinion) and can only hope that this would trigger conversations in this respect.
I loved this book. It was a good read and a quick one too. I love the author’s imagination and her portrayal of emotions and events. They all seemed so real and personal therefore, I highly recommend it to everyone but be prepared to hold your breath most of the way.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Published: 2019 by Kurdan Publishing
Genre: Short Story Collection
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The Author: Edify Yakusak is a Lawyer. She is Bajju from Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria. She spends most of her time writing stories and screenplays. Her first book. After They Left, was adjudged as one on the top 10 fiction books in 2016 by the Channels Book Club.