Excerpt: "For many years, the near future has beckoned writers as different as Margaret Atwood, Anthony Burgess, George Orwell, J.G. Ballard, Aldous Huxley, and Philip K. Dick. They’ve recently been joined by a growing legion of literary novelists that includes Kazuo Ishiguro, Colson Whitehead, Michael Cunningham, David Mitchell, and many others."
Trudie Barreras writes here that Happiness Ltd.: "deserves to enter the elite company of important futuristic novels." She summarizes the book's themes eloquently:
"The key themes of this novel are that a credit economy and runaway consumerism can only be maintained by fabricating an ever-growing demand for "stuff", where real value is completely lost in this self-replicating scramble for "more and better". In addition, and most of us can see this more and more clearly, the only way to keep people focused on these hollow values is to keep them in a constant state of fear over another fabricated threat - in this case nebulous and non-existent terrorism. In this way they can be made to completely ignore the real danger of the loss of freedom, self-determination, and - most important - the ideal of a loving, supportive community."
Much of Happiness Ltd. takes place in the Manhattan neighborhood known as TriBeCa (Triangle below Canal Street). Tribeca Citizen, a respected local newsletter, ran an excerpt from the novel and conducted a Q&A with Michael McGhee. Read it here.
For a teaser, here is the first Q&A:
How did the idea for Happiness Ltd. come about?
It goes back to 2003, when my wife and I moved to Murray Street because the city was offering subsidies to anyone who would live south of Chambers, to speed downtown’s recovery from 9/11. It was a strange place and time. In Washington, Congress was writing the Patriot Act and creating the surveillance operations that Edward Snowden would later expose. At night I would walk our dog around Ground Zero, where phalanxes of soldiers stood guard with machine guns. You could still see the slurry wall that held back the seawater after the towers collapsed. Yet at the same time, Tribeca was bouncing back with trendy little restaurants and bars. It felt like we were partying at the end of the world. These strange juxtapositions gave me the idea for a novel set in Manhattan in the not-distant future, where the sea levels are rising and today’s corporate state has become an outright police state, yet the city remains a crazy unmanageable stew where the super-wealthy live side by side with the destitute, and where love or mayhem can break out at any time.
The first review of Happiness Ltd. calls attention to the women in the story:
Women like Celia and Ultra, two polar opposites in this world, nuance this dystopian future. Their storylines are fascinating to follow and do so much more than push Nelson along in his adventure. The stresses of their experiences feel real to a reader, and seeing them function in this complex world only adds to the quality of this exciting novel.
Read full review here
Happiness Ltd.'s official launch date is June 23. Turn on the publicity engines!