You Have Arrived At Your Destination by Amor Towles
Nature or nurture? Neither. Discover a bold new way to raise a child in this unsettling story of the near future by the New York Times bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow.
When Sam’s wife first tells him about Vitek, a twenty-first-century fertility lab, he sees it as the natural next step in trying to help their future child get a “leg up” in a competitive world. But the more Sam considers the lives that his child could lead, the more he begins to question his own relationships and the choices he has made in his life.– Goodreads
This was the story I was most disappointed by in the Forward collection.
Towles had the opportunity to say a lot of interesting things about what happens when you have the chance to design “success” or “happiness” into a person’s life and what exactly those abstract terms really mean. Also the absence of any kind of conversation about gender, sexuality, and race in a story resolving around making a designer baby makes the story feel oddly dated. The main characters, like any couple who wants the best for their kid, want a straight, white, boy for a child. He’d have the easiest time in society that way, wouldn’t he? Wouldn’t that automatically equal happiness? That decision could have been really interesting if it had felt like a conscious part of the story rather than a foregone conclusion.
Towles skips delving into any of these topics to spend most of the story describing someone watching movie montages and explaining exactly what they are supposed to be in the most generic way. This long section of the story I found to be very heavy handed and off-putting. The same with the ending, which I think could have been quite good if Towles had been willing to leave anything to the reader’s imagination.
I understand that Towles was trying to look at the way technology is, by being helpful, basically plotting out every moment of our lives, and that this idea is taken to the extreme with gene engineering, I just think the idea could have been executed better.