Frédéric Solis is a successful lawyer and a fascinating man who seems to have had everything from life, but actually he misses something important: a family. This absence was filled with the purchase of Impressionist works of art, luxury items and the attendance of beautiful women. This is the setting of the novel The happiness of small things, written by Caroline Vermalle, that tells the pain, the abandonment but also the rebirth and satisfaction in realizing oneself. The protagonist, in fact, was abandoned by his father at an early age, but that pain gave him the necessary push to achieve important personal goals and become one of the most important and esteemed lawyers in Paris.
The happiness of small things: when life is not just about goals
The novel is adventurous, it is a journey through images in Paris and the snowy landscapes of Northern France. A “treasure hunt” that follows the signs of a strange legacy, consisting of mysterious tickets to be deciphered and a drawing that looks like a map. Frédéric, along with his assistant Pétronille and other bohémien characters, begins an adventure that will lead him to know the places of Impressionism and its artists live, and further on will reconcile him with his past and his father to finally recompose the puzzle.
The happiness of small things is an awareness, a journey in search of the priorities of life. Many of us, in fact, see the goals that have been achieved as the only way to reach happiness, but it’s only part of it. Only hope, relationships, sincere friendships and family can give you the strenght to go on and to overcome hard times.
This thought can be found in the words of Jamel, an intriguing character of the novel: “I prefer to say that we must believe in what we are doing. It’s not so much to believe, everyone can do it: just a bit of goodwill, ignoring the noise around, opening your eyes and seeing your lucky star. People no longer believe in their lucky star, and it’s a pity. They’re wrong, no doubt: lucky star is there for everyone, you just have to look for it. Sometimes it shines in small things, in a presence for example. There are seven millions of inhabitants in the world and sometimes a voice, a heart, a special way of looking at things can be enough for lighting up all at once. I met some special people who were shining also when nobody saw them”