Roxanne reviews The Happy Couple
by Naoise Dolan
A recent study reported that a significant portion of thirtysomethings are marrying within their friends group. The Happy Couple, a new novel by Irish writer Naoise Dolan, takes this finding to a fun snappy fictionalized degree. Name six of your closest friends and then imagine sleeping or marrying one. Intriguing, yes?
Naoise is a master at crisp seductive dialogue. If you’ve seen the film Double Indemnity, and relished Stanwyck and MacMurray’s witty repartee then you’ll be in hook line and sinker with this cast of characters.
The plot begins with Luke and Celine becoming engaged. What follows is a personality game of chess with friends and their opinions and relationship revelations. Thematically, The Happy Couple dives into what makes the difficult to find ‘perfect’ relationship: someone who you feel understood by and also like to touch. In addition she writes characters who are notoriously recreational liars which for us honest folks is stunning to read about in practice. And much like the recent hit Barbie, The Happy Couple notes how patriarchy has hurt men as much as it has harmed women.
Stylistically, besides the aforementioned dialogue specialty, Dolan also loves list making (why someone is the boss, reasons to marry someone, who is in attendance at a specific party) and as an organizing planner, I found this especially fun to read.