The Book of Happiness is one of the outstanding novels the great Russian author Nina Berberova wrote during the years she lived in Paris, and by far the most autobiographical. Vera, the protagonist of The Book of Happiness, is seen first in Paris where she leads a dreary life tied down by a demanding invalid husband. She is summoned to the scene of a suicide, that of her childhood's boon companion, Sam Adler. Sam's family had left Russia in the early days of the Revolution and Vera has not seen her friend for many years. His death reduces Vera to a flood of tears and memories of the times before Sam's departure, and thoughts about how her life has gone since. Not a cheerful prospect. Berberova spins the story with a wonderful unsentimental poignancy.