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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Generosity: An Enhancement

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Generosity: An Enhancement Cover

ISBN13: 9780374161149
ISBN10: 0374161143
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Awards

The Rooster 2010 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Review-A-Day

"Can a book that sweeps us up in imagined lives also acknowledge their artificiality? Powers answers in the affirmative. His vibrant Chicago recalls Augie March (one of many literary allusions), yet his Author admits: 'This place is some other Second City . . . Chicago's in vitro daughter, genetically modified.'" John Domini, Bookforum (read the entire Bookforum review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"About halfway into Powers's follow-up to his National Book Award — winning The Echo Maker, a Nobel Prize-winning author, during a panel discussion, talks about how 'genetic enhancement represents the end of human nature.... A story with no end or impediment is no story at all.' This then, is a story with both. Its hero, at least initially, is Russell Stone, a failed author of creative nonfiction turned reluctant writing instructor who cannot help transmitting to his students something of his flagging faith in writing. One of them, a Berber Algerian named Thassadit Amzwar, is so possessed by preternatural happiness that she's nicknamed 'Miss Generosity' by her prematurely jaded classmates and has emerged from the Algerian civil war that claimed the lives of her parents 'glowing like a blissed out mystic.' After Stone learns that Thassadit may possess a rare euphoric trait called hyperthymia, her condition is upgraded from behavioral to genetic, and Powers's novel makes a dramatic shift when Thassadit falls into the hands of Thomas Kurton, the charismatic entrepreneur behind genetics lab Truecyte, whose plan to develop a programmable genome to 'regulate the brain's set point for well-being' may rest in Miss Generosity's perpetually upbeat alleles. Much of the tension behind Powers's idea-driven novels stems from the delicate balance between plot and concept, and he wisely adopts a voice that is — sometimes painfully — aware of the occasional strain ('I'm caught... starving to death between allegory and realism, fact and fable, creative and nonfiction'). Like Stone and Kurton, Powers strays from mere record to attempt an impossible task: to make the world right." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

From the National Book Award-winning author of The Echo Maker comes a playful and provocative novel about the discovery of the happiness gene. Funny, fast, and magical, Generosity celebrates both science and the freed imagination.

Synopsis:

A playful and provocative novel about the discovery of the happiness gene.

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 Amzwars blissful exuberance both entrances and puzzles the melancholic Russell. How can this refugee from perpetual terror be so happy? Wont 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? Russells amateur inquiries lead him to college counselor Candace Weld, who also falls under Thassas spell. Dubbed Miss Generosity by her classmates, Thassas 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. Thassas 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.

Synopsis:

A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR

The National Book Award-winning author of The Echo Maker proves yet again that "no writer of our time dreams on a grander scale or more knowingly captures the zeitgeist." (The Dallas Morning News).

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 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 the Author

Richard Powers is the author of nine novels. The Echo Maker (FSG, 2006) won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Powers has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction. He lives in Illinois.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Ralph Sanders, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Ralph Sanders)
favorite fiction of 2011
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Emily Plec, January 11, 2010 (view all comments by Emily Plec)
Not Powers's best work to date but a worthy effort that takes up the strands of writing, interpersonal relationships, genomics, and celebrity culture in classic Powers style. Compelling narrative and character development, philosophically-oriented introspection, and the desire to see these characters' lives transformed by one another kept me reading. That, and the sheer eloquence of Powers's prose. I was on a plane to Chicago when I picked up Generosity in the Powell's bookstore in the Portland, OR airport and, lo and behold, the book is set in windy city. Chicagoans will appreciate the descriptive passages and Powers' capacity to capture a place in words. I couldn't help wondering, did the author only ever assign one (and the same) theme to his writing classes? It's a good one, but it keeps showing up across novels!

For the Puddly, however, stick with Powers masterpiece "The Time of Our Singing" -- definitely one of the best books published in the last decade. One of the all-time best examples of contemporary U.S. fiction.

Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374161149
Author:
Powers, Richard
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Author:
Pittu, David
Subject:
Research
Subject:
Genetics
Subject:
General
Subject:
College teachers
Subject:
Genetics -- Research.
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Medical
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
9 CDs; 12 hrs
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
5.9 x 5.1 x 1 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Generosity: An Enhancement Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374161149 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "About halfway into Powers's follow-up to his National Book Award — winning The Echo Maker, a Nobel Prize-winning author, during a panel discussion, talks about how 'genetic enhancement represents the end of human nature.... A story with no end or impediment is no story at all.' This then, is a story with both. Its hero, at least initially, is Russell Stone, a failed author of creative nonfiction turned reluctant writing instructor who cannot help transmitting to his students something of his flagging faith in writing. One of them, a Berber Algerian named Thassadit Amzwar, is so possessed by preternatural happiness that she's nicknamed 'Miss Generosity' by her prematurely jaded classmates and has emerged from the Algerian civil war that claimed the lives of her parents 'glowing like a blissed out mystic.' After Stone learns that Thassadit may possess a rare euphoric trait called hyperthymia, her condition is upgraded from behavioral to genetic, and Powers's novel makes a dramatic shift when Thassadit falls into the hands of Thomas Kurton, the charismatic entrepreneur behind genetics lab Truecyte, whose plan to develop a programmable genome to 'regulate the brain's set point for well-being' may rest in Miss Generosity's perpetually upbeat alleles. Much of the tension behind Powers's idea-driven novels stems from the delicate balance between plot and concept, and he wisely adopts a voice that is — sometimes painfully — aware of the occasional strain ('I'm caught... starving to death between allegory and realism, fact and fable, creative and nonfiction'). Like Stone and Kurton, Powers strays from mere record to attempt an impossible task: to make the world right." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Can a book that sweeps us up in imagined lives also acknowledge their artificiality? Powers answers in the affirmative. His vibrant Chicago recalls Augie March (one of many literary allusions), yet his Author admits: 'This place is some other Second City . . . Chicago's in vitro daughter, genetically modified.'" (read the entire Bookforum review)
"Synopsis" by , From the National Book Award-winning author of The Echo Maker comes a playful and provocative novel about the discovery of the happiness gene. Funny, fast, and magical, Generosity celebrates both science and the freed imagination.
"Synopsis" by ,
A playful and provocative novel about the discovery of the happiness gene.
"Synopsis" by ,

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 Amzwars blissful exuberance both entrances and puzzles the melancholic Russell. How can this refugee from perpetual terror be so happy? Wont 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? Russells amateur inquiries lead him to college counselor Candace Weld, who also falls under Thassas spell. Dubbed Miss Generosity by her classmates, Thassas 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. Thassas 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.

"Synopsis" by ,

A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR

The National Book Award-winning author of The Echo Maker proves yet again that "no writer of our time dreams on a grander scale or more knowingly captures the zeitgeist." (The Dallas Morning News).

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 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.

 

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