“This Close to Happy” is the rare, vividly personal account of what it feels like to suffer from clinical depression, written from a woman’s perspective and informed by an acute understanding of the implications of this disease over a lifetime.
Taking off from essays on depression she has written for “The New Yorker” and “The New York Times Magazine”, Daphne Merkin casts her eye back to her beginnings to try to sort out the root causes of her affliction. She recounts the travails of growing up in a large, affluent family where there was a paucity of love and of basics such as food and clothing despite the presence of a chauffeur and a cook. She goes on to recount her early hospitalization for depression in poignant detail, as well as her complex relationship with her mercurial, withholding mother.
Literary critic Daphne Merkin is a former staff writer for “The New Yorker”, and a regular contributor to “Elle”. Her writing frequently appears in “The New York Times”, “Bookforum,” “ Departures”, “Travel + Leisure”, “W”, “Vogue”, “Tablet”, and other publications. Her previous books include “Enchantment,” a novel, which won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for best novel on a Jewish theme, and two collections of essays, “Dreaming of Hitler” and “The Fame Lunches”; the latter was one of “The New York Times Book Review’s” Hundred Notable Books of the Year.