Becca's Reviews > Generosity: An Enhancement

Generosity by Richard Powers
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's review
Dec 24, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: speculative-fiction, scifi, literature, experimental-narration, favorites

Richard Powers' writing prowess is a delight. So while I have complaints that strike to the heart of the novel, they seemed trivial in the face of the most powerful prose I've read in a long time. Generosity is one of the tightest novels I've ever read. Every sentence is honed to perfection - imagery, flow, scanning, and purpose in the overall story. His commentary is both timely on the matters of genetic engineering, the growing expanse of the internet and culture globalization and timeless on the matters of what it truly means to be happy and what we should be searching for in life, any way. The research is also impeccable, down to the percentage of the human genome that is patented as of his writing.

The flaws? The first is the title, and overall the theme of "generosity" - I know that Powers is using it for the wordplay potential, in that Genetics and Generosity share a Latin root; however, Congeniality might be a better bang for the same pun-based buck. Nowhere does he show that Thassa is generous, despite her label of "Miss Generosity." In fact, the primary flaw is that he does not really show Thassa, the congenitally happy woman, to be much of anything at all. So while other characters run about fawning over her, the reader is still struggling to "get it."

In a lesser writers hands, these flaws would be fatal. In Powers' case it's merely an annoyance, in an otherwise superb novel.

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Reading Progress

December 24, 2009 – Shelved
January 1, 2012 – Started Reading
January 6, 2012 –
page 233
January 7, 2012 – Finished Reading
January 8, 2012 – Shelved as: scifi
January 8, 2012 – Shelved as: literature
January 8, 2012 – Shelved as: experimental-narration
January 8, 2012 – Shelved as: speculative-fiction
January 8, 2012 – Shelved as: favorites

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