THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS by Mervyn Jones

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is closest to Jones' earlier John and Mary than his more recent biographical-historical novels--a sort of civilized soap opera, amusingly explanatory. As told by Pat Bell, young, outgoing and attractive, who leaves her native Ulster for London where she does well as a working photographer while living in an extended dormitory with others as casually emancipated as she is. Before long she has graduated from the simple lust of Kevin back home to expert sex or ""grown-up behavior."" But, hard as it is to justify, she really falls in love and marries Vernon Longuehaye (""be sure you pronounce the hard g"")--a widowed professor of some distinction. He's big on Henry James and very demanding, except in bed. She only ascertains his age (49) through Who's Who along with the existence of a first wife, preceding the beautiful/noble/dead Laura. Their relationship is a patronizing tutorial. Vernon makes her give up her work, and only after a visit to that first, unacknowledged wife--very much of a woman in her own right--does Pat make the decision to forgo her real love for Vernon to save herself. Jones, whose sympathies are feminine rather than feminist, has boobytrapped his novel as well as Pat with someone like Vernon Longuehaye, two hard g's like in gag. But it reads easily as spectator entertainment of a time that was, in a word that was--""trendy.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1976
Publisher: Mason/Charter