The Book of Life

The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.

— Ursula K Le Guin, "The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas" (1974)

It is easy, almost effortless, to think of artistic masterworks that fit this pattern, exploring miserable lives with elegance and sophistication, marshaling great intellectual and expressive resources to pick apart physical and emotional suffering. It is harder to think of works that revel unabashedly in their celebration of joy, that take happiness and flourishing as their subject and refuse to apologize for doing so.

The Book of Life is one such work, and it is so refreshing for being so.

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