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Small Joys

A Buzzfeed 'Amazing New Book You Need to Read ASAP'

About The Book

The sensational debut novel about love, friendship and finding happiness in the most unexpected places.


'It's as fun as it is thoughtful: a tender and generous novel about finding your people, getting vulnerable, and celebrating every joy - big or small.' Buzzfeed

'Elvin James Mensah's Small Joys is breathtaking and heartrending, by turns hilarious and devastating and surprising and wild. Mensah's prose makes the intangible deft and tremendous — from the balm of friendship, to the beauty of queerness, and the all-encompassing elixir of community. Tender, thrilling, and honest; Small Joys is a beam of light.' Bryan Washington, author of Memorial

'A beautiful, moving story of love, male intimacy, chosen family and finding self worth.' Paul Mendez, author of Rainbow Milk

‘I adored Small Joys – a sweet, moving, funny, strikingly open story. I don’t know if I’ve ever rooted so much for a protagonist as I did for Harley – what a gorgeous novel.’ Jennifer Saint, No. 1 bestselling author of Elektra

'This heartwarming, witty, and moving debut is one of the most charming books you'll read this year. Exploring love, friendship, grief, and the bittersweet joy of being young, Small Joys is utterly beautiful.' Louise O'Neill, bestselling author of Idol

'I loved it - Small Joys is a wonderful book full of music, life and a great deal of heart. An extremely BIG joy!' Matson Taylor, bestselling author of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth

'A largehearted look at the importance of found family.' Electric Lit

‘A captivatingly tender novel . . . it’s beautiful.’ Natasha Onwuemezi, The Bookseller

‘Could I one day inspire happiness in others, the same way he seemed to do in me?’

Harley is a young queer Black man struggling to find his way in mid-noughties Britain. Returning home to Dartford, having just dropped out of an undergraduate course in music journalism, he is wracked by feelings of failure and inadequacy. Standing in the local woods one day, on the verge of doing something drastic and irreversible, his hand is stayed by a stranger: a tall husky guy who emerges from the bushes holding a pair of binoculars.

Muddy is an ebullient Mancunian whose lust for his own life makes others feel better by association. A keen birdwatcher, rugby fanatic and Oasis obsessive, he quickly becomes a devoted and loyal friend to Harley who finds his enthusiasm infectious and his dimples irresistible. In no time at all, they become inseparable. Harley starts to think that life may be worth living after all, while Muddy discovers things about himself that the lads down the rugby club may struggle to understand.

But when figures from the past threaten to plunge Harley back into the depths of depression, his only hope of survival is Muddy and the small joys they create together.

Moving, funny and tender, Small Joys is an epic novel about ordinary lives that introduces the world to an unforgettable cast of characters and a major new literary talent.

About The Author

Elvin James Mensah was born and raised in South East London. He graduated from Bournemouth University, where he began writing his first novel, Small Joys.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner UK (April 13, 2023)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398514904

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