Sixteen stories, sixteen intriguing situations, and a fascinating cast of characters populate The Far Side of Happiness, Boland’s debut short fiction collection. An unemployed man, living alone, experiences a brief epiphany until his fragile optimism is shattered by a freak accident. A seemingly straightforward story about a marriage in trouble conceals a devastating and unexpected deceit, revealed in its final lines. An Irish bachelor living in Paris has his life of entitlement turned upside down by two simultaneous, though unrelated, events. An environmentalist brings her naive idealism to a rural community but hopelessly misreads the town’s mood.