Small Joys: A Novel (Hardcover)

Small Joys: A Novel By Elvin James Mensah Cover Image
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“This funny and bighearted debut is an ode to queer friendship and chosen family. . . . A tender and generous novel about finding your people, getting vulnerable, and celebrating every joy—big or small.”—BuzzFeed

Could I one day inspire happiness in others, the same way he seemed to do in me?

Harley is a young queer black man struggling to find his way in nineties Britain. Returning home, having just dropped out of college, he is racked by feelings of failure and inadequacy. Standing in the woods one day, on the verge of doing something drastic and irreversible, Harley is held back by a stranger: a tall, husky guy who emerges from the bushes holding a pair of binoculars.

Muddy is an ebullient bird-watcher whose lust for his own life makes others feel better by association. A rugby fanatic and Oasis obsessive, he quickly becomes a devoted and loyal friend to Harley, who finds his enthusiasm infectious and his dimples irresistible. In no time, they become inseparable. Harley starts to think that life may be worth living after all, while Muddy discovers things about himself that the lads down at the rugby club would struggle to understand.

But when figures from the past threaten to plunge Harley back into the depths of depression, his only hope of survival is through Muddy and the small joys that they create together. Moving, funny, and tender, Small Joys is an epic novel about ordinary lives that introduces the world to an unforgettable cast of characters and a major new literary talent.

About the Author

Elvin James Mensah was born and raised in South East London. He graduated from Bournemouth University, where he began writing his first novel, Small Joys.

Praise For…

“Kind, careful, beautiful, and profound . . . Elvin James Mensah has an uncanny ability to give voice to the most delicate nuances of the human experience. His characters will stay in your heart forever.”—Allison Larkin, author of The People We Keep
“A largehearted look at the importance of found family, Mensah’s first novel focuses on the lifesaving friendship between a cast-off son . . . and the easygoing new roommate whose affection becomes a balm. Small Joys dwells in the sometimes-fleeting moments of pleasure and happiness that stave off the iniquities of the world.”Electric Literature

“Breathtaking and heartrending, by turns hilarious and devastating and surprising and wild . . . Elvin James Mensah’s prose makes the intangible deft and tremendous—from the balm of friendship to the beauty of queerness to the all-encompassing elixir of community. Tender, thrilling, and honest, Small Joys is a beam of light.”—Bryan Washington, author of Memorial

“I adored Small Joys—a sweet, moving, funny, strikingly open story. I don’t know if I’ve ever rooted so much for a protagonist as I did for Harley. . . . What a gorgeous novel.”—Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne

Small Joys is a wonderful book full of music, life, and a great deal of heart. . . . An extremely BIG joy!”—Matson Taylor, author of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth

“This heartwarming, witty, and moving debut is one of the most charming books you’ll read this year. Exploring love, friendship, grief, and the bittersweet joy of being young, Small Joys is utterly beautiful.”—Louise O’Neill, author of Idol

“A beautiful, moving story of love, male intimacy, chosen family, and finding self-worth.”—Paul Mendez, author of Rainbow Milk
“Mensah debuts with a poignant chronicle of the intense friendship between two men. . . . This author is off to an auspicious start.”Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593499962
ISBN-10: 0593499964
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 11th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English

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