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Why Are You So Sad?

A Novel

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"Jason Porter could find a place on the shelf beside Richard Brautigan, George Saunders, and David Sedaris. This is a quick, odd, wonderful book, one that pinned me back on my heels and made me laugh."
–Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

Have we all sunken into a species-wide bout of clinical depression?
Porter’s uproarious, intelligent debut centers on Raymond Champs, an illustrator of assembly manuals for a home furnishings corporation, who is charged with a huge task: To determine whether or not the world needs saving. It comes to him in the midst of a losing battle with insomnia — everybody he knows, and maybe everybody on the planet, is suffering from severe clinical depression. He’s nearly certain something has gone wrong. A virus perhaps. It’s in the water, or it’s in the mosquitoes, or maybe in the ranch flavored snack foods. And what if we are all too sad and dispirited to do anything about it? Obsessed as he becomes, Raymond composes an anonymous survey to submit to his unsuspecting coworkers — “Are you who you want to be?”, “Do you believe in life after death?”, “Is today better than yesterday?” — because what Raymond needs is data. He needs to know if it can be proven. It’s a big responsibility. People might not believe him. People, like his wife and his boss, might think he is losing his mind. But only because they are also losing their minds. Or are they?

Reminiscent of Gary Shteyngart, George Saunders, Douglas Coupland and Jennifer Egan, Porter’s debut is an acutely perceptive and sharply funny meditation on what makes people tick.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 06, 2014 – Porter's debut novel charts the trajectory of a man sinking under the weight of the whole world's sadness. Raymond Champs, an existentially angst-filled illustrator for a home furnishings corporation, is awash in the deep-end of corporate absurdity, wondering what if his overwhelming sadness isn't only a drop in the bucket but a swell in a rising tide of depression that afflicts everyone. With a covertly photocopied and nonchalantly distributed survey, Ray makes it his mission to find out, asking such questions as "Are you having an affair?", "Is today worse than yesterday?", and "Do you think we need more sports?". Ray seeks less a beam of hope among the rainclouds than the data to prove—to his level-headed wife Brenda or his threateningly eager boss Jerry—it's a true mass affliction, that he really isn't any crazier than the next guy. The book toggles deftly between its narrator's bummer of a worldview and his riotous, biting snark, peppered throughout with dashes of surprisingly transcendent philosophies. Porter's is a smart, compact debut that, despite sometimes hitting a nerve when it's aiming for the funny bone, resonates on both tragic and comic levels.

Customer Reviews

Why are you so sad?

Hilarious descriptive on today's insistence upon conformity, lack of imagination and total dissociation from self. A persons desire to realize his own emotion, once considered integral to self actualization is now considered crazy and subjected to a demeaning, purposeless life or risk jail and stigma. Well written, well thought out and i feel as though in some way, I've had the last laugh. Brilliant!

Why Are You So Sad?
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jan 28, 2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings