Friday, February 15, 2013
Saying Goodbye to Verena - Ivy Turow
Published in paperback by Acorn Independent Press - £8.99, and as an eBook, priced £2.99
Can anyone’s life be reduced to an economic equation?
Saying Goodbye to Verena is a bold new novel in which Ivy Turow asks what decency means in our time. Fusing economics and philosophical thought into fiction to explore the current economic crisis, Ivy presents a unique take on the state of the world today.
Stella and Verena have been the closest of friends since Cambridge. Outwardly successful and expensively dressed, they regularly meet up for Caesar salads at the Landmark Hotel. But this lunch is to be their last. In a cold, business-like tone, Stella announces that the sum of her life is worth more in death than by staying alive and assures Verena that by the end of the afternoon she will agree with her. Will you?
With a chillingly rational argument, calling on thinkers from Foucault to Dawkins, moral theory to game theory, Stella explains that there is no place for ethical individuals in the corporate machine. The consequences of this uncompromising logic are so stark that Stella genuinely believes she can’t live with them. However, Verena can actually benefit from her untimely death and should thus support her decision. Is this utilitarian view defensible?
A hybrid between fiction and non-fiction, Saying Goodbye to Verena has been described as Bridget Jones meets Darren Aronofsky and Sophie’s World meets Veronika Decides to Die. Unlike Sophie’s World, Saying Goodbye to Verena aims not only to elucidate but also to provoke the multitude of decent people in the world to take a stand for their values at this crucial point in history.
It warns that the present financial crisis is only the tip of the iceberg of humanity’s problems that stem from a deep moral decline. Recovering economically will only be a short-term solution unless we can recover our integrity on a collective scale.
Saying Goodbye to Verena urgently calls for a wider societal debate on our values. It is sure to strike a chord with anyone who has been mistreated at work or struggled to cope in the rat-race and will resonate with those who yearn for a greater sense of decency in our time.
Ivy Turow is an economist with a postgraduate degree in philosophy. Saying Goodbye to Verena is her first novel and was singled out from thousands of manuscripts by a literary agent who believed in what Ivy had to say.
Ivy comments: “Everywhere I go I hear stories of people being treated cruelly at work and I started to get obsessed with finding out why it occurs and why it is so omnipresent. The simplicity of my conclusion astounded me: most of the time, people do what they do simply because they can. Think about that for a moment! Is this really where our society should be at this point in our evolution? If so, should we face up to it collectively and raise our children to be the most effective predators they can be? Or should we try to do something about it? This is as fundamental a life question as we’re ever going to face, and I thought it was time that someone addressed it in normal words.”
Ivy Turow is a pseudonym.