Review # 19 / « The Intelligence of Happiness » by P. Z. Reizin
I come out of a somewhat complicated period in terms of reading: I did not know what to read since I no longer had the time to read articles or watch what was said on social networks or on blogs, I was (and still am) overwhelmed by work and daily organization, and suddenly there was little room for my desire.
To sum up, I had little availability of mind and time. So, I have tended, lately, to favor a priori « easy » readings, that is to say that I was rather going towards fiction (you will tell me, that does not change much) and joyful fiction.
So I left aside all current French literature and major foreign novels. In short, I focused on « mainstream » fiction rather mainstream.
I made a small gap by reading the last Patti Smith (« Devotion ») and the next Yann Moix (« Rompre ») but it was because they are short (I am ashamed).
So all that to say that I pulled out of my pile « The Intelligence of Happiness » by P. Z. Reikin (Albin Michel) about two weeks ago and that I just finished it.
The time we spend reading a book is an ambivalent fact: we may have loved a story and tried to extend it by taking our time, but most of the time (in my case) I notice that if we take too long to reading a book is not a good sign. This often means that the urgency that a story must be able to create in its reader has been lacking.
I put this book aside because the pitch had spoken to me:
Since Jen got dumped, she has spent her evenings in the tub of her London apartment sipping pinot gris listening to Lana Del Rey over and over.
Freshly divorced, Tom is looking for a new life. He left England with only his computer and his rabbit to embark on a career as a writer in Connecticut.
Everything is in opposition, yet Aiden believes they are made for each other. Aiden? Jen’s confidant and colleague at the programming lab where she works. Or rather… the artificial intelligence which has sworn to make it happy by finding it the rare pearl. But is happiness a matter of intelligence? »
What I liked : It’s an easy-to-read novel, the story flows and the characters are friendly. I loved the two Artificial Intelligence, Aiden and Aisling who are really great characters, despite their non-human status!
The problem of AI is also very interesting (very documented) and very well brought up.
What I criticize about this book : the last question of the pitch suggests a certain tension, an interrogation which are actually completely absent from the novel which I found a little too regular. I also found Jen and Tom, as well as all the other humans, fairly flat, almost hollow, especially when faced with AI.
One has the impression that the author is refraining, that he is always on the verge of dystopia and that is a little embarrassing. It sometimes gives a slightly bland taste to the story.
So I remain on a fairly neutral impression: a nice novel but not essential. That said, it would probably make a good film or a good series if a team of screenwriters added a little tension to it all!