The Happiest People in the World (Paperback)

By Brock Clarke

Algonquin Books, 9781616204792, 368pp.

Publication Date: June 30, 2015

December 2014 Indie Next List

“This satiric treatment of weighty topics, including religious intolerance, provincialism, and the American obsession with Homeland Security, ranges from a backwater in Denmark to a backwater in upstate New York. It follows the plight of a hapless Danish cartoonist who unleashes chaos in his life by authoring a politically incorrect cartoon of Muhammad. Put into a witness protection program and improbably installed as a guidance counselor in the local high school, he is at the mercy of bumbling agents of the CIA and Homeland Security, who seem to be feuding and hiding under every rock. His first time observations of America and Americans are priceless.”
— Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT
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Description

" A] dark and funny satire . . . Infidelities, secret identities and double-crosses . . . Reflects the absurdity of any country obsessed with spying on its own people." --The Wall Street Journal

Take the format of a spy thriller, shape it around real-life incidents involving international terrorism, leaven it with dark, dry humor, toss in a love rectangle, give everybody a gun, and let everything play out in the outer reaches of upstate New York--there you have an idea of Brock Clarke's new novel. Filled with wonder and anger in almost equal parts, The Happiest People in the World is a ripped-from-the-headlines tale of paranoia and the all-American obsession with security and the conspiracies that threaten it.

"A literary first: a book that feels like the love child of Saul Bellow and Hogan's Heroes, full of authorial cartwheels of comedy and profundity." --GQ

"The Happiest People in the World begins with a raucous bar scene featuring party streamers, smoke, prone bodies, spilled fluids and a stuffed moose with a surveillance camera in its left eye . . . Clarke has] success in dreaming up oddball originals that have instant appeal." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times

" Clarke] creates books that taste like delicious cuts of absurdity marbled with erudition." --The Washington Post

"A whiz-bang spy satire bundled in an edgy tale of redemption . . . His comedy of errors is impossible to put down." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A darkly hilarious novel . . . The writing is clever, the dialogue snappy and understated, and the effect is as pleasantly unsettling as anything Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ever wrote." --The Portland Sun

"A zany and fast-paced book that explores the myriad ways people of all nations make themselves and others unhappy." --Chicago Tribune, Printer's Row

"Ranks among the funniest and most relevant social satires I've read . . . It might just make you the happiest reader in the world." --The Dallas Morning News
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