Generosity by Richard Powers
An Enhancement

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 12 Critic Reviews

unrated

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.

 

About Richard Powers

See more books from this Author
Richard Powers is the author of eight previous novels that have received numerous honors including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction.
 
Published September 29, 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 301 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Generosity

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Nothing less than the phenomenon of happiness is explored in this rich, challenging novel from polymathic Powers (The Echo Maker, 2006, etc.).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

In Richard Powers’s latest novel, characters obsess over a woman ostensibly afflicted with hyperthymia — an excess of happiness.

Oct 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

Stone and Schiff are more leery, In fact, after trying to grasp the journal article on the testing on Amzwar, Stone concludes: Homo sapiens has already divided itself, if not into the Eloi and the Morlocks, then into demigods and dispossessed, those who can tame living chemistry and those who a...

Aug 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

Star Tribune

See more reviews from this publication

Powers' novels follow a certain pattern, humanizing some big theme or idea. But his books are so skillfully plotted and his characters so finely drawn that they transcend formula.

Oct 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

The Star

See more reviews from this publication

There are novels of ideas and then there are novels of a single striking idea. What if, according to this one, we could isolate, and perhaps replicate, the so-called happiness gene? What if, furthermore, the person carrying that gene had undergone some of the worst experiences life and/or history...

Nov 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

Los Angeles Times

See more reviews from this publication

National Book Award winner writes about a woman who is incapable of sadness.

Oct 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

The Telegraph

He tells us of the psychological research revealing that if people are asked to choose between a life in which their happiness would be consistently high – say, nine out of 10 – and one that started at two and ended at nine, most people would pick the latter option.

Feb 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

BookPage

While Kurton may seem the obvious villain, he is guilty of nothing but exuberance, and of belief in that greatest and most basic of human narratives: “that the future will be slightly better than the present.” The beauty of this book lies in Powers’ ability to capture human passion—for art, for s...

Aug 30 2014 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

Bookmarks Magazine

"Generosity" is Richard Powers' most exuberantly brilliant book yet, in which he dares to imagine what might happen when science discovers the genes for happiness...When Russell Stone becomes the teacher of a young Algerian woman with a disturbingly luminous presence, he is both entranced and tro...

Nov 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

Bookmarks Magazine

Award-winning novelist Richard Powers, whose works include The Gold Bug Variations (1991) and the National Book Award–winning The Echo Maker ( 3.5 of 5 Stars Jan/Feb 2007), began his career as a computer programmer.

Sep 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

California Literary Review

Richard Powers has been connecting — richly and deeply — from his first novel, the 1985 Three Farmers On Their Way to a Dance, which linked photography, Henry Ford’s invention of mass production, and a young computer designer’s romantic challenges in 1980s Boston;

Dec 17 2009 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

Scholars And Rogues

Richard Powers is one of the most interesting mainstream American novelists working today.

Apr 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Generosity: An Enhancement

Reader Rating for Generosity
70%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 51 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×