Happy Family

“Sometimes it’s best to tear up the past and start again. But whose past, and who does the tearing?”

1574178301Happy Family by James Ellis is a darkly humorous tale about the filters and frames we use to shield ourselves from reality, and what might happen should we discard them.

Germaine Kiecke was a foundling, an orphan, brought up by the infamous ‘Motherhood’ in a Belgian orphanage. Now she is a successful art academic who defines herself by her profession and prefers to experience the world through art and an augmented reality game called Happy Family.

But when the artist Tom Hannah, the creative force behind Happy Family, moves to Spain, surrounds himself with high walls, three large guard dogs called Harpo, Chico and Groucho, and a runaway who teaches him to think like a tree, his existential melt-down threatens all Germaine holds dear.

She is forced to re-engage with life and travels to Spain to try to make things right. Along the way she meets people who are also, for one reason or another, dependent on Tom’s fictional world to augment their own ‘real’ lives.

Happy Family is published by Unbound Books and is available in both paperback and eBook format in high street bookshops and online.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Unbound Digital (6 February 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1789650518

Here are links to some of the more popular sites from where it can be bought – and please, when you’ve read it, do post a review comment. It really does help.

Reviews for Happy Family…

Happy Family is a novel about an artist thrown into existential crisis by the loss of his mother and the influence of his work on an art critic who prefers the augmented reality he created to her real world. At the same time it’s a novel that introduces us to a salamander father, an actor specialised in bodily noises who is stuck in a love triangle, and a family living through a soap-opera like murder mystery in Spanish hotel. James Ellis not only pulls off this rare and spectacular feat of merging philosophical questions about life, reality and human connection with juicy soap-opera melodrama in an utterly believable and compelling way, his mastery of hilarious and unexpected details brings a dose of fun and wonder to the story. Reading this book is a thrilling, thought-provoking and ultimately uplifting experience. Read it if you’re ready for a ride!

Bette Adriaanse

Funny, enigmatic, layered and above all warm, this is an extraordinary novel. 

David Quantick

There are more reviews on Happy Family‘s Goodreads page.

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