Tell the Machine Goodnight

By Katie Williams

‘Philosophical, funny, cleverly structured, unpredictable’ Gabrielle Zevin

Happiness is Pearl’s job. Using the revolutionary Apricity machine, every day she provides customers with personalized recommendations for their emotional wellbeing; from eating more tangerines to cutting off a finger, from getting a dog to getting a divorce.

She’s good at her job, her office manager tells her. But Pearl is starting to wonder whether it’s even possible to measure an emotion.

Pearl’s teenage son, Rhett, is a sensitive boy who has forged an unconventional path through adolescence. He seems somehow to find greater contentment in being unhappy. If only Pearl could persuade him to take the Apricity test… but what if she doesn’t like what she finds?

TELL THE MACHINE GOODNIGHT is a wry, prescient and hilarious debut. For fans of Jennifer Egan and Ruth Ozeki, it is both a cautionary tale about the advance of technology and a scalpel-sharp depiction of the darkest depths of the human psyche.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 12 Jul 2018
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-0-00-826503-8
Katie Williams’s short fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, American Short Fiction, Prairie Schooner, Subtropics, and elsewhere. Williams earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches writing and literature at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She is the author of two young adult novels, The Space Between Trees and Absent. This is her first novel for adults.

”'A master class in not losing sight of the human element… the kind of story that - in the subtlest of ways - can instruct us, and nourish us, and make us want to live and love a little better” - Matt Haig, New York Times Book Review

”'Between seasons of 'Black Mirror’, look to Katie Williams' debut novel” - Refinery29

”'Sharp and moving” - Publishers Weekly

”'Philosophical, funny, cleverly structured, unpredictable … the world-building is creative and completely convincing” - Gabrielle Zevin

”'My prescription for happiness is: 'Sit still, read a book that can't be classified by genre, and tell everyone.' I'm telling you, Katie Williams delivers. TELL THE MACHINE GOODNIGHT is part science fiction, part love story, part feminist manifesto. I never knew what was going to happen and, when I found out, I was always delighted” - Helen Ellis, New York Times bestselling author of AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE

”'I loved Katie Williams's debut novel Tell the Machine Goodnight. So much that I read it twice … It is sci-fi in its most perfect expression ” - no robots, no explosions, no car chases. Reading it is like having a lucid dream of six years from next week, filled with people you don't know, but will’ NPR

”'How much control do we have over our own happiness-and would we be better off if we had the ability to nudge it just a little more? TELL THE MACHINE GOODNIGHT is a captivating, thought-provoking and utterly charming novel about the elusive nature of happiness and the limits of both technology and our own self-knowledge” - Carolyn Parkhurst, author of HARMONY and THE DOGS OF BABEL

”'Filled with extraordinary writing, wish-they-existed characters, and unexpected narrative turns, TELL THE MACHINE GOODNIGHT will delight your mind and heart” - Courtney Maum, author of TOUCH and I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN HERE WITHOUT YOU