The search for paradise is a lofty goal for many, but one that acclaimed writer and journalist Pico Iyer treats with incredible urgency. In The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise, Iyer travels the globe—from Iran to Kashmir to Japan to Northern Ireland—to demystify how different communities perceive eternal happiness, and how their quest to achieve it manifests in the face of political, social, and environmental instability. The result is a lyrical, if paradoxical, meditation on a fervent pursuit for happiness that often feels out of reach. Iyer asks himself: Can paradise exist? Is this the place? For him, it’s at least worth taking a look and finding out. —Rachel Sonis

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