9780374161149

Generosity: An Enhancement

Powers, Richard

ISBN 10: 0374161143 / 0-374-16114-3
ISBN 13: 9780374161149
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: 2009
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:

FROM THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD–WINNING AUTHOR OF THE ECHO MAKER, A PLAYFUL AND PROVOCATIVE NOVEL ABOUT THE DISCOVERY OF THE HAPPINESS GENE

When Chicagoan Russell Stone finds himself teaching a Creative Nonfiction class, he encounters a young Algerian woman with a disturbingly luminous presence. Thassadit Amzwar’s blissful exuberance both entrances and puzzles the melancholic Russell. How can this refugee from perpetual terror be so happy? Won’t someone so open and alive come to serious harm? Wondering how to protect her, Russell researches her war-torn country and skims through popular happiness manuals. Might her condition be hyperthymia? Hypomania? Russell’s amateur inquiries lead him to college counselor Candace Weld, who also falls under Thassa’s spell. Dubbed Miss Generosity by her classmates, Thassa’s joyful personality comes to the attention of the notorious geneticist and advocate for genomic enhancement, Thomas Kurton, whose research leads him to announce the genotype for happiness.
Russell and Candace, now lovers, fail to protect Thassa from the growing media circus. Thassa’s congenital optimism is soon severely tested. Devoured by the public as a living prophecy, her genetic secret will transform both Russell and Kurton, as well as the country at large.

What will happen to life when science identifies the genetic basis of happiness? Who will own the patent? Do we dare revise our own temperaments? Funny, fast, and finally magical, Generosity celebrates both science and the freed imagination. In his most exuberant book yet, Richard Powers asks us to consider the big questions facing humankind as we begin to rewrite our own existence.

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Book Description: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "Provocative . . . fascinating . . . dazzling."Ron Charles, The Washington Post "An excellent introduction to Powers's work, a lighter, leaner treatment of his favorite themes and techniques . . . An engaging story-teller . . . even as he questions the conventions of narrative and character, Generosity gains in momentum and suspense."Jay McInerney, The New York Times Book Review "Powers is a brilliantly imaginative writer, working here with a lightness of touch, a crisp sense of peace, and a distinct warmth. . . . Powers shows both his reach as a student of humanity and his mastery as a storyteller." O, The Oprah Magazine "When written by Dostoevsky, Dickens, or Richard Powers at his best, one may feel that [the novel] can contain every facet of the world."Michael Dirda, The New York Review of Books "Powers fuses riveting narrative and spot-on dialogue with thought-provoking social analysis."Dan Cryer, Newsday "One of our most exciting contemporary novelists."Amanda Gefter, Philadelphia Inquirer. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0374161143

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Book Description: FSG. 1 Cloth(s), 2009. hard. Book Condition: New. When Russell Stone winds up teaching creative nonfiction in a Chicago arts college, in this follow-up to Richard Powers' National Book Award winner The Echo Maker, he encounters a young Algerian woman with a disturbingly luminous presence. Thassadit Amzwar's blissful exuberance both entrances and puzzles Russell. Dubbed Miss Generosity by her classmates, her innately joyful personality comes to the attention of Thomas Kurton, the notorious geneticist and advocate for genomic enhancement. What will happen to life when science identifies the genetic basis of happiness? Who will own the patent? Powers asks us to consider the big questions facing humankind as we begin to rewrite our own existence."Sixteen years after Peter Kramer's Listening to Prozac, Richard Powers has heard the alarming implications of treatments that let us buy better moods and personalities. His cerebral new novel offers a chilling examination of the life we're reengineering with our chromosomes and brain chemistry. Although it's tempting to call Generosity a dystopia about the pharmaceutical future in the tradition of Huxley's Brave New World, Powers sticks so closely to the state of current medical science and popular culture that this isn't so much a warning as a diagnosis. And as with any frightening diagnosis, you'll be torn between denial and a desperate urge to talk about it. With Generosity, Powers has performed a dazzling cross-disciplinary feat, linking the slippery nature of 'creative nonfiction' to the moral conundrums of genetic engineering. Although you might expect a novel so weighted with medical and philosophical arguments to flatten its characters into brittle stereotypes, ultimately that's the most impressive aspect of this meditation on happiness and humanness. As Generosity drives toward its surprising conclusion, these characters grow more complex and poignant, increasingly baffled by the challenge and the opportunity of remaking ourselves to our heart's content."—Washington Post Book World 296. Bookseller Inventory # 11918

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