In The Happy Life David Malouf addresses one of the most fundamental questions of all: what makes for a happy life? In an age where our bookshelves are full of self-help volumes and tales of perfect romantic love, his discussion is particularly relevant. He asks why, when so many of the essential 'unhappinesses' - premature death, famine, plague, material poverty - have largely disappeared in the developed world, does happiness continue to elude us?
With elegance and insight, David Malouf finds new and old ways to talk about contentment and the self. He returns to the wisdom of the classics, and discusses how, thanks to Thomas Jefferson, happiness became a 'right'; in a dialogue on Rubens and Rembrandt he explores the sensual happiness of the flesh; he covers the difficulties of the modern world's obsession with consumption; and finally the consolation and sympathy provided by art and literature.
In luminous prose, with ideas to savour and reflect upon, Malouf distills millennia of thought and philosophy in The Happy Life into a fascinating and tangible argument.