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.
©2009 Richard Powers; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
Most reviewers discuss the science of this novel. But, for me, it's all about the fiction. The magic of fiction, resulting from our willing suspension of disbelief, is that we read (or listen to) a novel as if it were a book of non-fiction about actual people confronting real events. But what if the narrator of a novel claims to be its author and comments, from time to time, on the process of his creation of the very fictional characters and plot? And what if that plot forces its characters, most of them student-writers of non-fiction that they sometimes make up, to wonder if they or their DNA or science or the media have created them? (It never occurs to them that they are characters in a novel.) Then we have a maze of a book--another amazing Richard Powers novel both intellectually provocative and aesthetically satisfying. What Powers also does so marvelously well here is to invent Thassadit Amzwar (nickname: Generosity) who makes us feel so good, we need her to be real. But whether she is or not, there is more truth in this Richard Powers novel than in a month of cable news.
you should try "echomaker" by the same author. shame that they don't offer it here...it's his best work if you ask me. but of course generosity is very good, too.
Richard Power's strength is in his ability to inform readers about subjects from genetics, to relationships, to education. In this volume he approaches neuroscience. In particular, he tells the story of one Thassadit Amzwar who is possessed by such happiness that it attracts attention from Russell Stone her creative writing instructor. This is another of his idea-driven novels and it readily informs and invigorates. My problem (with each of his good books) is that the characters really never come to life. They are the props around which the ideas are presented.
Otherwise, the writing is very good and the narration of David Pittu exceptional. If you are interested in the topic at hand - this is a keeper. Powers is the sugar that makes the medicine go down very well.
The way he writes is magical, like our thoughts at their wittiest. It is real authentic contemporary writing, with tangible characters that touch you.
I am so thrilled I found Richard and this book, I now have a modern, well-rounded, interesting writer that I can call my favorite.
Wonderful writing and intellectually stimulating. This is my first book I have listened to by Ricahrd Powers, but it won't be my last. It was a feeling and engaging exploration of happiness, genetic engineering, manipulation, and patenting, all through wonderfully drawn characters. Loved it, and listened to it while I cleaned my house this weekend. I wanted to keep cleaning.
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