The Happiness Show

Catherine Deveny

The Happiness Show
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The Happiness Show

Catherine Deveny

She ached for him. She longed for him. She missed the way he made her feel and how funny and smart and sexy she felt with him. And young. She missed the version of herself that she had left behind. At thirty-eight, Lizzie Quealy thinks she has things sorted: a happy relationship, a couple of gorgeous kids, a steadfast best friend and a job she loves. But when Lizzie bumps into Tom, an old flame from her globe-trotting twenties, her predictable life is turned on its head. Tom is her ‘unfinished business’: the man she might have spent her life with, if things had gone a little bit differently. Ten years on, the spark is still there - but how far is Lizzie prepared to go to recapture it, and at what cost? Set in Melbourne, London and Bali, The Happiness Show is a refreshingly honest story of love, fidelity and the messiness of second chances. Sexy and hilarious, it explores the rules and taboos of contemporary relationships - and what happens when they stand in the way of one woman’s pursuit of happiness.


catherine-deveny-revLife is a funny thing. The people we meet, the connections we make and then the connections we lose.

I have always loved Catherine Deveny’s writing style and having a whole book of it makes me feel spoilt. The Happiness Show is set alternatively between Melbourne and London, and our two main characters circle around each other in both memory and present day.

Lizzie and Tom met while travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, fell in love and spent five glorious weeks together in the UK. After life gets in the way and Lizzie ends up back in Sunshine while Tom becomes a lawyer, they both let their connection go and move on with their lives. Fifteen years later, chance intervenes again. They meet and, although both are happily married with children, they cannot stop thinking about each other.

Although I would normally consider this premise somewhat sleazy, there’s a humour and a strange down-to-earth quality to the narrative that makes this a highly enjoyable book. Told in a stream-of-consciousness style, with memory interrupting present day, the perspectives circle, condense and twirl back around. There are lots of characters that are interesting in this book, from the spouses and children to the cast of friends and family.

Never taking itself too seriously, The Happiness Show sees Deveny in fine form.

kate-rockstrom-pic Kate Rockstromis a Classical Specialist at Readings Carlton. She regularly performs as a flautist as well as writing about music and books, follow her at

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