“Funny and moving. After this nothing will ever taste the same again.--T.C. Boyle, author of The Women and San Miguel
It's 1973, and David Leveraux is a young and ambitious flavor chemist working at a world-renowned flavor-production house. While testing a new artificial sweetener--Sweetness #9--he notices some unsettling side effects in the laboratory rats and monkeys: anxiety, obesity, mutism, and a general dissatisfaction with life.
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 is generally dissatsified with her life. Is Sweetness #9 to blame, along with David's failure to stop it? Or are these just symptoms of the human condition? David's search for an answer unfolds in this expansive novel that is at once a comic satire, a family story, and an exploration of our deepest cultural anxieties. Wickedly funny and wildly imaginative, Sweetness #9 questions whether what we eat makes us truly who we are.
Stephan Eirik Clark was born in West Germany and raised between England and the United States. He is the author of the short story collection Vladimir's Mustache. A former Fulbright Fellow to Ukraine, he teaches English at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Sweetness #9 is his first novel.