In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy famously wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” This celebrated maxim seems questionable at best to literature professor Tracy Farber. If Tolstoy is to be taken at his word, only unhappiness is interesting; happiness is predictable and bland.
Tracy secretly nurtures an unusual project: proving that happiness can be uniquely interesting, in literature and in life. Although challenging the masterly Tolstoy creates a potential threat to her job security, Tracy is confident. After all, she’s her own perfect example — content with friends and work and satisfied to be single at age thirty-three. But then she meets George, who will sweep her off her feet and challenge all of her theories. When love proves more complicated than Tracy had imagined, she struggles to find happiness in a way that fulfills both her head and her heart.