This year’s winner (The Happiness Jar) is a compelling story about awakening and renewal. Written in a beautiful and direct style, its journey of transformation takes us from the Australian city, to remote country, to the crowded streets of India. Its characters are wonderfully and vividly drawn: raw and never sentimental. Through their experiences, Samantha Tidy prompts us to reexamine our understandings of grief, legacy, honesty and family. The Happiness Jar is a powerfully constructed and at times surprising work: a thread that runs back and forth in time between different cultures, places and points-of-view. Above all, it is a satisfying, original and engaging novel with a unique perspective, and a worthy winner in 2014.
— Judges Comments, ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Fiction 2014
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Rachel Hudson succumbs to cystic fibrosis at age twenty-seven, leaving behind secrets that push each of her remaining family to question what it is they want from life, and from each other. Her father Brian, a Vietnam veteran struggling with the long-term effects of the war, has been missing ever since he walked out on Beth and their two children in the dead of night twenty years ago. Matt dreams of one day finding his own path like his heroic father, as Beth’s religious fervour propagates a childhood of parental disappointment.

Rachel sets before her family one last request: a journey to the exotic and the unknown. Rachel, ever the free spirit, administers a dose of her notorious wanderlust.

The Happiness Jar is a story about how tightly you hold on to what you believe in; how one person’s beliefs can affect a family and tear at the already fragile folds where love hides.  It’s about faith, and what can endure despite the burdens we place on ourselves and each other.

Set against the red dust of the Kimberley desert, and the smoky backdrop of the holy River Ganges in India, The Happiness Jar is a novel that reminds us that we continue to live in the memories we leave behind.


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Winner, ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Fiction 2014
Runner Up, FAW Christina Stead Award 2013
Runner Up, FAW Jim Hamilton Award, 2010
Shortlist,  Penguin Varuna Scholarship, 2011
Shortlist, HarperCollins Varuna Award, 2011

Published by Storytorch Press, 1 Sept 2013
RRP: $24.95
Adult Fiction, 336pp
Available from any Australian bookstore. Just tell them it is a Peribo title.
Want to buy a signed copy? Buy online here.
Also available as an eBook from Amazon.

So far I have four favourite books this year.....Delicious, The Light Between Oceans, And the Mountains Echoed and The Language of Flowers....however The Happiness Jar is now my number one “recommend” it....the story, the characters and the message are unforgettable....thx Samantha
— Jennifer. V Kennett,
This is one of the best Australian novels related to what Tidy calls the “war nobody would talk about.” Tidy does a marvelous job creating and bringing alive the alien world of Australia for this American reader. Her prose is so evocative I could feel the ever-present flies crawling on my eyes and ears as I read the book. I highly recommend this book to those who know little or nothing of Australia’s contribution to what we imprecisely call the American War in Vietnam.
— DAVID WILLSON, Vietnam Veterans of American Magazine
The Happiness Jar will take the reader on a journey of discovery, of oneself and those whom we love, and others we may not love at all. A wonderful read from start to finish. I was left pondering at the end, my own mortality, outlook and relationships. Samantha Tidy has penned a book that you may well want to read again and again.
— GARY McKAY, Author
The way it was written was beautiful and very descriptive. I loved reading about the Aboriginal people and their way of life. I could relate in many ways to the families lives that changed forever after the Father came back from Vietnam.
A lovely truthful story about real people. Life isn’t easy but it can be measured with happiness one moment at a time. It had me in tears on more than one occasion and I will surely be recommending it. Thank you Samantha Tidy.
This book had me from page one. Beautifully written and very thought provoking... From exotic, colorful and dirty India to the harsh yet inspiring outback of our wonderful country, this book had me captured... Loved, loved, loved it!!!!
— Lis Norman,