Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Generosity abounds

Every day, the last few weeks, I rush to check the mailbox. I've been waiting and waiting and waiting.

Amid the usual bills and flyers I've had a couple nice surprises — for example, review copies of Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked (I like most of his other novels better than this, but still breezy and delightful) and Margaret Atwood's Year of the Flood (slowgoing, so far — I'm not in the right headspace for it, but maybe the upcoming cottage weekend will resolve that).

But I've been waiting for something in particular. And yesterday it came!

I pulled it out of the mailbox, and when I recognized the publisher's address, the world ceased to exist. "Oh my god oh my god oh my god" as I carried it reverentially into the house. Bag dropped off my shoulder, I let other mail slip to the ground. Child babbling incoherently in an auditory distance (she's right beside me, but she sounds like I'm underwater). My fingers fumbling at the pull tab. J-F said "You look like a junkie who just scored 10k of crack-cocaine. Do they send that by mail?" They do. It is.

Richard Powers' Generosity, about the genotype for happiness.

The blurb asks us, "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?"

I've been grappling with the problem of happiness for some 30 years. I think this feeling — when you open the mailbox and find an advance reading copy of a novel with an astounding premise that taps one of your own life obsessions by a guy who wrote one of your favourite books of all time — is something akin to it.

1 comment:

cipriano said...

Ahh, Dear Octopus.
I await your words about the Maggie book.
Hoping it's better than Oryx and Crake.
Not expecting it to be better than The Handmaid's Tale.
But overall, I love all she does.