An Enhancement

Large Print - 2010
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While teaching a Creative Nonfiction class, Chicagoan Russell Stone encounters a young Algerian woman with a disturbingly luminous presence. Thassadit Amzwar's blissful exuberance entrances and puzzles the melancholic Russell. How can this refugee from perpetual terror be so happy? Russell's amateur inquiries bring Thassa to the attention of a notorious geneticist whose research leads him to announce the genotype for happiness.
Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press/Gale Cengage Learning, 2010, c2009.
Edition: Large print ed.
ISBN: 9781410421449
Branch Call Number: [LP] FIC/POWERS
Characteristics: 561 p. (large print) ; 23 cm.


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Dec 22, 2014

Powers again shapes fascinating subject matter into a brilliant story, this time a tale of human nature and the ambiguities of personality. Powers, a recent winner of the National Book Award, is certainly one of our best living novelists.

Apr 12, 2014

This is a fresh, inventive work. It is not a great story and the characters are all like delicate china dolls teetering on the edges of high shelves. It is the author's device of having a narrator/himself comment throughout that fascinated me. Not at all like the old practice of addressing "dear reader", these just barge in as first person interjections. They slowly increase in both frequency and importance until at the very end, it is the most important thing--the author's relationship to/comfort with his principal character.
As a whole it is almost a creative essay on fiction, its role, the writing of it, its difficulties and the intellectual life of the novelist. There is also a moral tussle with a particular area of current science that threatens to reduce humanity.
The book is not without humor. My best chuckle came with Powers' creation and treatment of '"Oona", obviously Oprah.

Jul 02, 2013

An old-fashioned novel of ideas plus a postmodern self-referential satire on our flavour-of-the-minute distracted media plus a love story. Powers doesn't always juggle these elements successfully and the first half of the book is a little slow and awkward, like a loon trying to take off. But then the story of the woman who appears to be genetically programmed to exist in permanent bliss finally gets airborne and the narrative keeps us hooked. The style sometimes strains a little, but the book is ultimately saved by Powers's insight into his characters and his wise heart.


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