**Shortlisted for the ReLit Award**
Mathematician Emily Kogan’s family is good at keeping their secrets. But when she uses her visit to the vacation lodge they own to conduct research for a graduate thesis on measuring the influence of interpersonal relationships, she learns far more than she bargained for. During her investigation at the Treasure Island Lodge – a resort that has catered to the Jewish community since the early 1930s, when their clientele would have been turned away from segregated hotels – she discovers long-buried clues to the mystery of her family’s true identity, and how old friends, kind neighbours and even the famous Harpo Marx all played their roles in an astonishing tale of ill-fated love, extraordinary courage and a daring transatlantic escape.
Reviews and Endorsements:
“At this novel’s heart is a mystery, one that can sustain propelling the story forward and back. It’s Arcadia for the connected age.”
-Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail
"A weird, enthralling, and singularly original book.”
-Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This
“von Konigslow wins us over with both the sheer elegance of her prose and the scope of this novel’s vision. Harpo Marx is fully imagined here, and his experiences help to provide a buttress of plausibility; Emily, meanwhile, proves a worthy lead character for her thread, a woman with a sensitive eye and an open ear.”
-Mark Sampson, Free Range Reading
“This is a story about family secrets, the complexities of love, and the way our lives interconnect with each other, sometimes in unexpected ways. Even though I had the secrets mostly worked out by the end of the book, it was still interesting to read about how it all played out within the family.”
-Consumed by Ink
“Better than clever, charming and elusive, The Capacity for Infinite Happiness is an utter delight unlike anything written before. Here is a story rich and complex told so simply that every page turns itself. The Marx brothers roam our Canadian wood. A beautiful mother prevaricates. Mysteries are hidden like heirlooms and two points of history meet. I couldn't stop reading. The pleasure was effortless and intense.”
“Alexis von Konigslow has written a linguistic calculus for human connectivity with this sweet, stunning, ingenious novel.”
"The writing is gorgeous, the narrative engaging -- how can you not want to read a book with Harpo Marx as the heroic lead? This is a book about secrets and family history and letters and anti-Semitism and art and most of all, love."
I was originally going to be a physicist. I have a degree in Mathematical Physics from Queens University and a long family history in the physical and life sciences. Despite this plan, though, I always read voraciously. My love of novels was impressed upon me by my grandmother, my aunt, and my mother. I made the transition after my undergraduate to creative writing and enrolled in the M.F.A. Program at Guelph where I worked under the tutelage of Linda Spalding, Constance Rooke, Catherine Bush, and others.
My first novel, The Capacity for Infinite Happiness draws on mathematics and family history to tell a two-pronged story about love and redemption on a Jewish resort in Ontario. Its cast of characters include feuding sisters, a young mathematician, and the Marx brothers. You can see more about Capacity here.
My other creative work includes drama and short stories, and I teach writing and communications at Humber College. I live in Toronto with my husband Jake and my son, Oliver.