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Extended Audio Sample Sweetness #9: A Novel, by Stephan Eirik Clark Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephan Eirik Clark Narrator: James Langton Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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It’s 1973, and David Leveraux has landed his dream job as a Flavorist-in-Training, working in the secretive industry where chemists create the flavors for everything from the cherry in your can of soda to the butter on your popcorn.

While testing a new artificial sweetener—“Sweetness #9”—he notices unusual side-effects in the laboratory rats and monkeys: anxiety, obesity, mutism, and a generalized dissatisfaction with life. David tries to blow the whistle, but he swallows it instead.

Years later, Sweetness #9 is America’s most popular sweetener—and David’s family is changing. His wife is gaining weight, his son has stopped using verbs, and his daughter suffers from a generalized dissatisfaction with life. Is Sweetness #9 to blame, along with David’s failure to stop it? Or are these just symptoms of the American condition?

David’s search for an answer unfolds in this expansive novel that is at once a comic satire, a family story, and a profound exploration of our deepest cultural anxieties. Wickedly funny and wildly imaginative, Sweetness #9 questions whether what we eat truly makes us who we are.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Funny and moving. After this, nothing will ever taste the same again.”

    T. C. Boyle

  • “A truly gifted writer, Stephan Eirik Clark writes with an inventiveness and artistry that few can match.”

    Ben Fountain, New York Times bestselling author

  • “All Hail Stephan Eirik Clark! He writes with terrific gusto, insight, and compassion.”

    Ken Kalfus, National Book Award finalist

  • “The energetic mixture of laughter and revulsion, outrage and dismay, fact and fiction, skewer a food industry that provides neither food nor sustenance and damages us in ways we are just beginning to fathom.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This debut novel is a hilarious take down of an industry more interested in getting us to buy its products than in selling us good food. Essential for fans of Christopher Buckley’s Thank You for Smoking.”

    Library Journal

  • Sweetness #9 does for flavor science and its sweetly dangerous concoctions what White Noise did for chemical transportation and airborne toxic events—that is, makes them real enough to produce legitimate anxiety and funny enough to make you fall off the couch.”

    Keith Lee Morris, author of The Dart League King

  • “A comic novel that brims with insight and imagination. Stephan Eirik Clark casts a sharp eye on our addiction to simple solutions and quick fixes.”

    Laila Lalami, author of Secret Son

  • “Haunting and hilarious, Sweetness #9 is so compelling that it made me throw the maraschino cherries in the trash and run out to buy organic greens. That’s how sucked in I was by Stephan Eirik Clark’s sly, bold version of our modern world, where nature and falseness vie for supremacy and nothing can taste sweet enough, vivid enough, for children intoxicated by the tang of chemicals. This book offers us something amazing, with the startling ring of truth: the fact that not knowing where our food comes from is inexorably linked to not knowing who we are.”

    Stacey Richter, author of Twin Study

  • Sweetness #9 is funny but still human, entertaining but also illuminating, smart but not smug, thought-provoking without lecturing: it’s a rare book that does all this at once, and does it so well.”

    Caitlin Horrocks, author of This Is Not Your City

  • Sweetness #9 is that rare thing: an intelligent page-turner. Read this book for its whip-smart prose, its thoughtful characters, and its sharp observations about the synthetic (and authentic) aspects of modern life.”

    Karl Iagnemma, author of On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction

  • “So smart, so funny, and totally entertaining. Nothing on the dinner table escapes Stephan Clark’s incisive wit—and that’s only the beginning.”

    Bonnie Nadzam, author of Lamb

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, August 2014
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • An AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014
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