Reviews

2018 Kirkus Prize Finalist in Fiction

"Nutshell: I loved Katie Williams's debut novel Tell the Machine Goodnight. So much that I read it twice. The first time was straight through — not driven by plot or thrumming action, but in a languid drift across 280-some pages, a feeling like being drunk on a raft in calm water. The second time I dipped in and out, 10 or 20 pages at a swallow. I might read it again when we're done here. Haven't decided yet." — NPR

"As we integrate ourselves ever deeper with technology, it makes sense that these themes will and should emerge in novels, and Williams offers a master class in not losing sight of the human element." — New York Times Book Review, 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

"For all its imaginative and speculative power...its primary concern is something so fundamentally human that it transcends time—our insatiable need to feel better, to decipher whatever happiness means." — BookPage

“[Williams’s] wit is sharp, but her touch is light, and her novel is a winner.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“[A] vivid, clever debut.” — O, the Oprah Magazine

“...delightfully weird and humorous…a fascinating exploration of our increasing reliance on technology and our obsession with finding a quick fix for everything.” — Shondaland

“With its large heart, compelling cast of characters and frighteningly-not-far-from-reality technology, Tell the Machine Goodnight is a story that will compel you to keep reading, while also allowing you the space to meditate on the understanding that happiness looks different for everyone.” — PopMatters

“Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite writer. Katie Williams plunges into our obsession with technology and its effect on our lives and dreams, and emerges with miraculous gifts for us—she unwraps the present and the future.” —James Hannaham, award-winning author of Delicious Foods

“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 transcends categorization in the best way possible—it is part love story, part science fiction, part feminist inspirational wake-up call, and all of it moving and compelling. 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
 
Philosophical, funny, cleverly structured, unpredictable. The characters are recognizably humans, but not ones I have met before; the world-building is creative and completely convincing. I doubt I will ever read another a novel with a more moving trip up a VR mountain.” —Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times-bestselling author of Young Jane Young and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
 

“Filled with extraordinary writing, wish-they-existed characters, and unexpected narrative turns, this novel will delight your mind and heart.” —Courtney Maum, author of Touch and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
 
“Katie Williams’s fierce moral intelligence sparks off the page…Generous, perceptive, intensely smart: this is just the novel we need.” —Kirstin Valdez Quade, award-winning author of Night at the Fiestas
 
“How much control do we have over our own happinessand would we be better off if we had the ability to nudge it just a little more?…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, New York Times-bestselling author of Harmony and The Dogs of Babel