Monday, December 29, 2008

Michael Kelly on Happiness

Michael Kelly, who was one of my favorite writers of all time, once wrote this on happy families:

"Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina one of the great founding untruths of the intellectual age, 'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' This was exactly, entirely wrong. Happy families are all idiosyncratic, each with its own unduplicatable history, each with its own cherished oddities. Very nearly every unhappy family is very much alike, the same tedious, awful story of selfishness and dead love and the destruction wrought by the fall of one of another family member into the grip of one or another vice.

Reject Tolstoy and all his minions. Look around the table on Christmas night, or as you light the menorah, and regard your doddering parents and your annoying siblings and your dotty aunt and your insufferable uncle and your cousin the schnorrer and your nephew the nose-ringed, and rejoice in your magnificent wealth."


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