Happiness, Like Water


In this debut collection, Chinelo Okparanta introduces us to families burdened equally by the past and the future.

Here, we meet a childless couple with very different desires; a college professor comforting a troubled student; a mother seeking refuge from an abusive husband; an embittered spinster recalling the loss of a dear childhood friend; and a young woman waiting to join her lover abroad. High expectations – whether of success in Nigeria, or the dream of opportunity and accomplishment in America – consume them.

In language that is both raw and elegant, Happiness, Like Water heralds the arrival of a fearless and sensitive literary voice.

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Chinelo Okparanta



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