Generosity by Richard Powers

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Richard Powers, one of America's most important novelists, moves to Atlantic Books. "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 troubled. How can this refugee from terror radiate such bliss? Is it possible to be so open and alive without coming to serious harm? Thassa's joyful personality comes to the attention of the notorious geneticist and advocate for genomic enhancement, Thomas Kurton, whose research has enabled him to announce his discovery of the genetic underpinnings of happiness. Thassa's congenital optimism is severely tested by the growing media circus. Devoured by the public as a living prophecy, her genetic secret will transform both Russell and Kurton, as well as the world at large. "Generosity" is fast, funny and finally magical. In his most exuberant and exhilaratingly brilliant book yet, Richard Powers asks his readers to consider the big questions facing humankind as it learns of the genetic map underlying every aspect of our existence.

About Richard Powers

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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: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Generosity

The Guardian

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"Perhaps this is the time for a stale debate on whether happiness is a comparative state and people would still be unhappy if Thassa were the norm."

Jan 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Generosity

The Guardian

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Powers, who intervenes in the narrative from time to time to talk to his reader, describes Stone as "the kind of guy who might not know what his pleasures are.

Jan 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Generosity

The Guardian

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Early in Richard Powers's new novel comes a rundown of creative writing student types: "the classicist, the prince of the streets, the brainy one, the buckshot comic, the lyric queen of dialogue".

Jan 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Generosity

The Independent

Thassa's genetic predisposition to joy is plausible, but this contagious capacity – the glow that has some physical or pheromonal property for influencing others' moods – flies well below the scientific radar and gives a mystical edge to a plot primarily impelled by hard science.

Feb 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Generosity

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Can they also create happier people if they locate the "happiness gene?"

Sep 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Generosity

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Tell-alls are the new news.” The huge hype Thassa’s story brings about is cataloged well by Powers although sometimes you begin to wish he would have stopped while he was two steps ahead.

Oct 18 2009 | Read Full Review of Generosity

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