“Do you think the universe will last forever?” he asked her, idly.
“No,” she said. “Not in its current form. But the love that binds it. The love will.”
“You’re a romantic,” he said.
“No, that’s you. But I made you a vase, for once. It’s drying in the studio.”
“Sometimes,” he said. “Sometimes things just fall away.”
A professor of physics tries to explain the underlying fabric of the universe. His star student, a maths major, brings his new girlfriend to the office. She studies English with Art, and throws pots in porcelain by night. Does she know she is throwing the mystery of the universe?
When thousands of applicants for the summer happiness retreat arrive on intern Meredith’s desk, she cannot cope. Joel Pickering, a famous Hollywood producer, wants to come. He has written on his application that his current source of happiness is justice, having put a line through the word head. His wife, who is intensely irritated with him having had an affair with the yoga instructor, has decided on her application that happiness is chocolate. Mike Coogan, another of the lucky chosen ones, put art than erased it and put money. David Harrison from Florida put money as well, but then thought about it and offered honesty. Maria Llewelyn from London should have put film, but she wrote love. On behalf of management at The Retreat, Meredith accepts their applications to an expensive summer camp for Americans who, for their own undisclosed reasons, are pursuing happiness as a project. The novel tells the hilarious and uplifting story of the summer, one perspective at a time.
High up beyond the city, past the trees and further than the paths of stones, a man sits four feet under the ground, deep in meditation. He is the guru. His robes are sagging. His beard is too sharp. To Josie, who visits from the city for several weeks, he is the figure of what has past, of a masculinity and a spirituality that can no longer be. And yet she is drawn to him, and him to her. She teaches him who he is, and in return, he shows her the light.
Twelve states, twelve couples, twelve months. Four brothers and a sister. All friends interwound. A series about love and everywhere it takes us, even heaven.