Happiness is Pearl's job. Using the revolutionary Apricity machine, every day she provides customers with personalised recommendations for their emotional well-being: 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?
The Happiness Machine 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.
"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)
"Philosophical, funny, cleverly structured, unpredictable...the world-building is creative and completely convincing." (Gabrielle Zevin)