Brooklyn Eagle recently reported on acclaimed film producer and novelist Galt Niederhoffer, who begins her new novel “Love and Happiness” (St. Martin’s Press; Sept. 10, 2013) by depicting an intimate scene between a married Brooklyn couple. The utterly realistic interaction draws the reader in to what becomes a provocative investigation of modern marriage.
Love and Happiness tells the story of Jean Banks, who is struggling to come to terms with the fact that she is no longer a carefree and passionate artist. Her intimacy with her husband Sam is dwindling, her career as a film producer has become largely consumed by cold calls to investors, she lives in a Brooklyn brownstone she and Sam cannot afford to renovate, and while she loves her children, they are a constant reminder that she lacks the exciting freedom she once had.
Feeling stifled by her marriage and domestic life, Jean turns to writing as an outlet. Her writing, though, is not a private form of therapy – rather, it is in the form of emails to her college boyfriend, Doug. For a while the emails remain unsent, until one day Jean decides to press “send” and ask Doug out for a drink. The two meet, which does not go particularly well, but soon after, Jean meets Benjamin, a new love interest, while on a business trip in Los Angeles.
Upon her return to Brooklyn, Jean obsessively investigates Benjamin on the Internet, while Sam discovers her unsent emails to Doug. As her circumstances become increasingly complicated, Jean must ultimately decide whether to abandon her familiar life for the potential of something greater.
* * *
Galt Niederhoffer is the author of “A Taxonomy Of Barnacles” and “The Romantics”, which became a movie she wrote, directed, and produced—starring Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Anna Paquin and Malin Ackerman—in 2011. Her production company, Park Pictures, has produced more than two dozen movies. She lives in New York City.