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A Hundred Years of Happiness

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Description

A beautiful young woman. An American soldier. A war-torn country. Nearly forty years of silence.

Now, two daughters search for the truth they hope will set them free and the elusive peace their parents have never found.

In the South Carolina Lowcountry, a young mother named Katherine Ann is struggling to help her tempestuous father by plunging into a world of secrets he never talks about. A fry cook named Lisa is trying desperately to reach her grieving Vietnamese mother who has never fully adjusted to life in the States. And somewhere far away, a lost soul named Ernest is drifting, treading water, searching for what he lost on a long-ago mountain.

They're all yearning for connection. For the war that touched them to finally end. For their hundred years of happiness at long last to begin.

From the beloved author of The Spirit of Sweetgrass  and Trouble the Water comes this generous story of family, war, loss, and longing . . . of the ways we hide from those we love, and the ways that love finds us anyway.

Reading Guides

Reading Group Guide

  1. Discuss the poem at the beginning of this book. Who is the Mistress of War? What role does "she" play in the novel?
     
  2. In A Hundred Years of Happiness, the past begins to come back for John Porter. Do you think it ever left him? Have you or someone you loved experienced the lasting effects of war? Discuss.
     
  3. Describe the life of Katherine Ann. When she takes it upon herself to help her father deal with his past, whom do you think she is really trying to help?
     
  4. The Water Lilies are an important part of both Betty Jo's and Katherine Ann's lives. Have you ever known such a group of friends?
     
  5. What happens to Katherine Ann when her inner self becomes troubled? Do you believe this is common?
     
  6. Water is prominent in this book. Discuss its symbolism as well as "being waterlogged" and "drowning" in A Hundred Years of Happiness.
     
  7. When Doan Vien stops speaking, how does Lisa try to reconnect with her mother? Is she also attempting to connect with her motherland?
     
  8. When we are introduced to Lisa, she steps out of the shower and into the "blurriness" of her life. She says, "I'm neither here nor there." Discuss how someone can be neither here nor there.
     
  9. In your opinion, which character in this book has had the most difficult life? By the end of the novel, whose life had changed the most?
     
  10. Discuss the Cinderella-like fairy tale, Tam and Cam, from Chapter 13. How does it relate to this story, and in specific, Doan Vien?
     
  11. Betty Jo is a private person but opens up to the Water Lilies about matters of the heart. Do you think her mistrust is warranted? Why or why not?
     
  12. Ernest lives in a different world from the other characters. Discuss his world. Who is Brother Chong? Who is Eldest Fish?
     
  13. What is the true desire of Ernest's heart? Does he find what he's looking for? How is he connected to John Porter?
     
  14. The Vietnamese culture is rich with food, customs, and beliefs in afterlife. Discuss how this culture affects aspects of Doan Vien's and Lisa's lives.
     
  15. The main characters in A Hundred Years of Happiness live in their own realities. Discuss the concept of "reality verses deception." What can we learn about our own lives in this regard?
     
  16. Who is speaking in the Prologue? "Upon reading, you will find your own place in this story." Did you find your own place in this story?
     
  17. There are many secrets in this novel. By the end of the book, does anyone still harbor a secret?
     

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A Hundred Years of Happiness, Nicole Seitz

Details

A beautiful young woman. An American soldier. A war-torn country. Nearly forty years of silence.

Now, two daughters search for the truth they hope will set them free and the elusive peace their parents have never found.

In the South Carolina Lowcountry, a young mother named Katherine Ann is struggling to help her tempestuous father by plunging into a world of secrets he never talks about. A fry cook named Lisa is trying desperately to reach her grieving Vietnamese mother who has never fully adjusted to life in the States. And somewhere far away, a lost soul named Ernest is drifting, treading water, searching for what he lost on a long-ago mountain.

They're all yearning for connection. For the war that touched them to finally end. For their hundred years of happiness at long last to begin.

From the beloved author of The Spirit of Sweetgrass  and Trouble the Water comes this generous story of family, war, loss, and longing . . . of the ways we hide from those we love, and the ways that love finds us anyway.

More Information

Length 320 Pages
Publication Date March 3, 2009
Company
  • Thomas Nelson
ISBN-10 1595545026
ISBN-13 9781595545022
Height 8.1"
Width 5.3"