A Happy Man is a novella by Swiss author Hansjörg Schertenleib from Melville House's excellent The Contemporary Art of the Novella series. Much like last year's film Happy-Go-Lucky, it's a book about a protagonist who is, basically, a content optimist.

The protagonist, whose name is This, is a middle-aged married jazz trumpeter who's pretty much in life's sweet-spot; he's discovered what he likes to do with his life, he makes money at it, and he unabashedly enjoys all the people in his circle of friends. There's very little tension.

Something like this is ideal for a 93-page novella; it's essentially an exercise in tone. Schertenleib explores This's life, examines how he'd act in a number of different situations, and then closes the book with an event that makes the rest of the book feel different in retrospect; it's a book designed to make you want to go back and read the whole thing over again, and it's hypnotic enough that you'll enjoy reinvestigating it at your leisure.