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.
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"Starred Review. 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." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Master storyteller Powers has a keen eye for the absurdity of modern life. Highly recommended." - Library Journal
"Exuberant, erudite and satisfyingly enigmatic." - Kirkus Reviews
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Richard Powers (born 18 June, 1957 in Evanston, Illinois) has received numerous honors including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction. He teaches in the Creative Writing M.F.A. program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, teaching a graduate seminar in multimedia authoring and an undergraduate course in the mechanics of narrative.
He grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, the fourth of five children. Early in the 1960s his father, a high school principal moved the family to the north Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood; then, when he was 11 (1968) his father accepted a job at the International School of Bangkok, and the family spent the next five years in Thailand, where he became both an accomplished ...
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