Lindsey Schwoeri

In his provocative, vibrant 10th novel, National Book Award winner Richard Powersonce again explores the impact of technology and scientific discovery on our lives.

When melancholic failed writer Russell Stone agrees to teach a creative nonfiction course at a local college, his students confirm his worst fears about the future—in a world where the private is public, writing is becoming less an act of reflection than of exhibitionism. But one student captivates him: Thassadit Amzwar, an Algerian refugee whose unwavering joy earns her the nickname of “Miss Generosity” from her peers. Thinking Thassa may be bipolar, delusional or worse, Russell consults college psychologist Candace Weld, who suggests that Thassa might be “hyperthermic,” or excessively happy. 

When Thassa’s exceptional capacity for joy comes to the attention of geneticist-entrepreneur Thomas Kurton—who is on the verge of announcing the genotype for happiness—Russell and Candace are powerless to help her. Thassa finds herself at the center of a raging public debate about genetic modification. Does it signify progress, improving our quality of life as so many scientific advancements have, or will it do away with identity itself? Will it provide even greater advantages to the children of the rich? Will we be testing each other’s DNA in job interviews, and before we get married, to figure out just what it is we’re getting into? Heralded by some as a living prophecy and derided by others for her role in ending human nature as we know it, Thassa begins to bend and break under the strain, changing the lives of those around her forever.

Though at times Generosity feels overly deliberate—it’s no secret that the book is carefully organized around a particular ideological debate—it is never didactic. While Kurton may seem the obvious villain, he is guilty of nothing but exuberance, and of belief in that greatest and most basic of human narratives: “that the future will be slightly better than the present.” The beauty of this book lies in Powers’ ability to capture human passion—for art, for scientific discovery and for one another.

Lindsey Schwoeri is an Assistant Editor at the Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. 

In his provocative, vibrant 10th novel, National Book Award winner Richard Powersonce again explores the impact of technology and scientific discovery on our lives. When melancholic failed writer Russell Stone agrees to teach a creative nonfiction course at a local college, his students confirm his worst fears about the future—in a world where the private […]

Brian DeLeeuw’s smart, haunting debut is unlike any novel I’ve ever read. A coming-of-age story and a literary thriller in equal parts, In This Way I Was Saved is a story of friendship and betrayal, violence, madness, lust and power that will keep you guessing until the very last page—and leave you gasping for air.

From the moment six-year-old Luke meets Daniel in a playground near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the two are constant companions. Daniel plays with Luke’s toys, sleeps in his bedroom and distracts Luke from the painful realities of his parents’ divorce. He even follows Luke and his mother, Claire, to Fire Island, where Luke’s attentions to Claire and his new puppy gnaw incessantly at Daniel. Fiercely jealous of Luke’s other relationships and fearful a day will come when Luke forgets him entirely, Daniel’s attempts to regain his position grow increasingly sinister—and even violent.

Once you’ve seen the lengths to which Daniel is willing to go to keep Luke by his side—or rather, under his influence—you won’t be able to put this book down. Daniel accompanies Luke to high school, feeding him the right answers during class, and helping him call plays on the football field. But Daniel’s motives are far from innocent. The more Luke needs him, the stronger Daniel grows, until he begins to be able to make choices for Luke—choices he would never make on his own. And in the battle to control the life they share, only one of them can emerge the victor.

In This Way I Was Saved is an impressive debut—fascinating, suspenseful and controlled—and it will chill you to the bone. In Daniel, DeLeeuw has created an unforgettable character with a voice that is both highly intelligent and deeply unsettling. After seeing the world through Daniel’s eyes, there may be no turning back.

Lindsey Schwoeri is an Assistant Editor at the Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. 

Brian DeLeeuw’s smart, haunting debut is unlike any novel I’ve ever read. A coming-of-age story and a literary thriller in equal parts, In This Way I Was Saved is a story of friendship and betrayal, violence, madness, lust and power that will keep you guessing until the very last page—and leave you gasping for air. […]

In his award-winning debut collection, God Is Dead, Ron Currie Jr. imagined what the world would be like if God came to earth in human form and was killed. In his new novel, he tackles an equally weighty subject with the same irresistible sense of humor: in a world where the apocalypse is certain, does anything we do matter? In this hilarious, wry, deeply moving but never sentimental novel, the answer is clear: Everything Matters!

While Rodney Thibodeau Jr. is still in the womb, a mysterious voice entrusts him with the knowledge that on June 15, 2010, at 3:44 p.m. EST, the world will be obliterated by a fiery comet. In the 36 years he has on this earth, Junior is accompanied by this voice, and haunted by the implications of its prophecy. Meanwhile, his loved ones bear burdens of their own—his anxious but doting mother begins her slow descent into alcoholism; his distant father retreats still further into his work; and his brother becomes a cocaine addict. The one bright spot in all of this is Amy—the love of Junior’s life. But when he confides in her what the voice has told him, she turns away from him, sending him into a deep downward spiral. Will Junior give into the familial vice—addiction—lay back and let the apocalypse come, or will he try to do something about it?

The magic of this book is that Currie’s vision of the end of humanity is in fact a celebration of life—even at its very worst. For a novel shot through with addiction, abuse, violence and failed relationships, Everything Matters! is shockingly, impossibly uplifting. Currie captures people, in all their imperfect splendor, in just a few sentences; he creates visceral images in just a few words. And while Junior, Amy and the others prepare for the end of days, you begin to realize that the questions the novel raises—about God, fate, destiny and the future—are just as immediate for the rest of us.

Everything Matters! is a powerful, funny, thought-provoking book that confirms Currie as an exciting new voice in American fiction.

Lindsey Schwoeri is an Assistant Editor at the Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

In his award-winning debut collection, God Is Dead, Ron Currie Jr. imagined what the world would be like if God came to earth in human form and was killed. In his new novel, he tackles an equally weighty subject with the same irresistible sense of humor: in a world where the apocalypse is certain, does […]

Modern Turkey is a place full of contradictions—straddling Europe and Asia, caught between Western culture and the strictures of traditional Islam and riddled with political upheaval and violence. No contemporary writer has brought this complex world to life for Western readers like Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk.

In his intensely psychological new novel, The Museum of Innocence, we view Istanbul in the tumultuous 1970s and ’80s through the lens of a doomed love affair. Kemal is happily engaged to a beautiful, intelligent woman of his own social class, Sibel—and yet, he falls deeply, irrevocably in love with a poor, distant relation, Füsun. When Kemal refuses to leave Sibel, Füsun disappears. Inconsolable, he returns almost daily to the scene of their lovemaking, cradling the objects she once touched as though they still contain some trace of her. He descends deeper into despair, alienating everyone around him except Sibel, now bound to him as much by love as by the shame that she will face should they break off their engagement. But Kemal cannot forget Füsun, and will dedicate his life to possessing her—or at least, the objects that remind him of her—even to the point of destroying himself, and those he loves most.

Though Pamuk’s narrator is intensely single-minded—thinking only of Füsun, rarely taking note of politics in spite of the daily violence on the streets of Istanbul—this novel evokes its time and place vividly. As the upper crust of Istanbul vacillates between “modern” attitudes toward sex and the vicious, self-imposed rumor mill that reinforces traditional values, Pamuk’s characters are left to navigate intricate social rules and customs—some that limit their freedom, and others that, to our surprise (and to Pamuk’s credit), allow for their happiness.

The most remarkable thing about this beautiful novel is that Pamuk manages to convey all of this while telling his story through the eyes of a narrator who, like Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert, is so absorbed with his obsession that he seems barely to notice the world around him. But just as Lolita emerges as a kind of portrait of America, as Humbert and his Lo encounter it one motel at a time, so The Museum of Innocence stands not only as a story about a man and the woman he loves, but also about a man and his city—its people, restaurants, music, ever-changing traditions and the majestic waterway dividing East from West that runs through its center. 

Modern Turkey is a place full of contradictions—straddling Europe and Asia, caught between Western culture and the strictures of traditional Islam and riddled with political upheaval and violence. No contemporary writer has brought this complex world to life for Western readers like Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk. In his intensely psychological new novel, The Museum […]

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