The Happiness Machine

By Katie Williams

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

If a machine could offer a prescription for happiness but you might not like the results would you take the test?

Eat more tangerines. Divorce your wife. Cut off your right index finger. The Apricity machine’s recommendations are often surprising, but they’re 99.97% guaranteed to make you happier. Pearl works for Apricity – meaning happiness is her job – but her teenage son Rhett seems more content to be unhappy, and refuses to submit to the test. Is Pearl failing as a mother and in her job – and does she even believe in happiness any more?

Warm, witty and utterly charming, The Happiness Machine is where A Visit from the Goon Squad meets Where’d You Go Bernadette.

First published as Tell the Machine Goodnight.

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 16 May 2019
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0-00-826506-9
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. The Happiness Machine 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 The Happiness Machine. 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? The Happiness Machine 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, The Happiness Machine will delight your mind and heart” - Courtney Maum, author of Touch and I am Having So Much Fun Here Without You