2018 Kirkus Prize Finalist in Fiction
"It is sci-fi in its most perfect expression" — NPR Books
"What could have been simply a cutting satire — or thought experiment — about our tech dependence and craving for quick-fix pop psychology becomes something far warmer and funnier." — New York Times, editors' choice
"With its clever, compelling vision of the future, deeply human characters, and delightfully unpredictable story, this novel is itself a recipe for contentment." — Kirkus *
“A savvy take on technology’s potential and its moral failings… Williams never allows satire to overtake her story’s moral center or its profoundly generous and humanistic heart, resulting in a sharp and moving novel." — Publishers Weekly
“[Williams’s] wit is sharp, but her touch is light, and her novel is a winner.” — San Francisco Chronicle
Pearl's job is to make people happy. Every day she provides customers with personalized recommendations for greater contentment. But how does one measure an emotion?
Meanwhile, there's Pearl's teenage son, Rhett. A sensitive kid who has forged an unconventional path through adolescence, Rhett seems to find greater contentment in being unhappy.
Told from an alternating cast of endearing characters, Tell the Machine Goodnight delivers a smartly moving and entertaining story about relationships and the ways that they can most surprise and define us. Along the way, Katie Williams playfully illuminates our national obsession with positive psychology, our reliance on quick fixes and technology. With warmth, humor, and a clever touch, Williams taps into our collective unease about the modern world and allows us see it a little more clearly.