Review: Happy Eva After by Chris Harrison


Title: Happy Eva After

Author: Chris Harrison

Published: Arena: Allen & Unwin November 2013

Read an Excerpt

Status:  Read from November 11 to 13, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Happy Eva After is a quirky British comedy about marriage, parenthood, ambition, communication and the lack thereof. Sebastian Pink is an unassuming ESL teacher at The Future Perfect language school in London. Largely content to walk the dog, challenge himself with cryptic crosswords, have the occasional pint with a friend and tend to his allotment, when his workaholic wife expresses a desire to have a baby. Sebastian is ambivalent and allows himself to become distracted by the enigmatic and beautiful, Eva, a young Czech woman, studying English while working as an au pair.

In part a comedy of errors, prompted by Sebastian’s imagination, including prophetic crossword clues, and the nuance of language lost in translation, Happy Eva After is an entertaining novel which also touches on serious themes such as the exploitation of foreign labour and the ‘outsourcing’ of parenthood.

Sebastian is an ordinary married, middle class gent, approaching middle age when her first meets Eva. He is an earnest sort of man, a bit of a nerd, but thoroughly endearing. He loves his wife, despite their many differences, though he worries his lack of ambition and easy going nature suffers by comparison, and the idea of fatherhood has him both excited and apprehensive. Sebastian’s concern for Eva is somewhere between paternal and carnal but genuine nevertheless, he misinterprets a scene he witnesses between Eva and her employer which has him worried Eva is being sexually exploited and he becomes determined to somehow rescue her.

The humour is very British (is that a thing? I think it’s a thing), often dry and sardonic, occasionally slipping into something outrageously silly. Readers should enjoy the word play heralded by chapter headings relating to the rules of grammar and the use, and abuse, of the English language by Sebastian’s students which had me sniggering far more than is probably politically correct.

An impressive debut from Chris Harrison, Happy Eva After is a witty and intelligent novel which I found engaging and entertaining.

Available to Purchase From

Allen & Unwin I BoomerangBooks I Booktopia I Amazon AU I Amazon US

via Booko



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