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Bewilderment by Richard Powers
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Bewilderment

A Novel

$28.00 USD

Get for $14.99 with membership
Length 7 hours 50 minutes
Language English
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AN OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB SELECTION

Shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize
Longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction

A heartrending new novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning and #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Overstory.

I never believed the diagnoses the doctors settled on my son. When a condition gets three different names over as many decades, when it goes from non-existent to the country's most commonly diagnosed childhood disorder in one generation, when two different physicians want to prescribe three different medications, there's something wrong....

Theo Byrne is a promising young astrobiologist who has found a way to search for life on other planets dozens of light years away. He is also the widowed father of a most unusual nine-year-old. His son, Robin, is funny, loving, and filled with plans. He thinks and feels deeply, adores animals, and can spend hours painting elaborate pictures. He is also on the verge of being expelled from third grade for smashing his friend's face with a metal thermos.

What can a father do, when the only solution offered to his rare and troubled boy is to put him on psychoactive drugs? What can he say when his boy comes to him wanting an explanation for a world that is clearly in love with its own destruction? The only thing for it is to take the boy to other planets, even while fostering his son's desperate campaign to help save this one.

"Richard Powers is one of our country’s greatest living writers. He composes some of the most beautiful sentences I’ve ever read. I’m in awe of his talent." —Oprah Winfrey

RICHARD POWERS is the author of twelve novels. His most recent, The Overstory, won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the 2020 American Academy of Arts and Letters' William Dean Howells Medal for the most distinguished American work of fiction published in the last five years, and was a finalist for the Booker Prize. The Overstory has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 63 weeks to date, with more than 1 million copies in print across all formats. Powers is also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Book Award, among other accolades.

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Reviews

Richard Powers is one of our country’s greatest living writers. He composes some of the most beautiful sentences I’ve ever read. I’m in awe of his talent.—Oprah Winfrey

Extraordinary.…Powers’s insightful, often poetic prose draws us at once more deeply toward the infinitude of the imagination and more vigorously toward the urgencies of the real and familiar stakes rattling our persons and our planet. —Tracy K. Smith, New York Times Book Review (cover review)

A heartrending tale of loss.…Powers continues to raise bold questions about the state of our world and the cumulative effects of our mistakes.—Heller McAlpin, NPR

Nothing short of transportive.—Newsweek

[A]stounding.…a must-read novel.…It’s urgent and profound and takes readers on a unique journey that will leave them questioning what we’re doing to the only planet we have.—Rob Merrill, Associated Press

As in The Overstory, Powers seamlessly yet indelibly melds science and humanity, hope and despair. —Dale Singer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Bewilderment is a big book about what matters most.…a brilliant, engrossing, and ultimately heartbreaking book. —David Laskin, Seattle Times

[P]oignant…Bewilderment is a cri de coeur.…this is a hauntingly intimate story set within the privacy of one family trapped in the penumbra of mourning. —Ron Charles, Washington Post

You could think of it as ‘The Innerstory’: It is about how and whether we see the world we inhabit.... It is enchanting, and it is devastating.—Ezra Klein, The Ezra Klein Show

Immersive and astonishing.…Powers captures the tragedy of a species that could, but perhaps won’t, become a lasting part of a cosmic menagerie. But in this absorbing and effortlessly readable tale he seems to have also found uplifting poetry in our despair.—Caleb Scharf, Nautilus

A moving depiction of filial love, as father and son confront a world of ‘invisible suffering on unimaginable scales.—The New Yorker

In Bewilderment, [Powers's] mastery strikes a new vein.…it raises goosebumps and breaks our hearts. —John Domini, The Brooklyn Rail

Achingly current and wise.—Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post

[Powers] wants to challenge our innate anthropocentrism, both in literature and how we live.—Alexandra Alter, New York Times

Remarkable.... Bewilderment channels both the cosmic sublime and that of the vast American outdoors, resting confidently in a lineage with Thoreau and Whitman, Dillard and Kerouac. —Rob Doyle, The Guardian

One of America’s most ambitious and imaginative novelists.... In a year of unprecedented worldwide drought, fire, and flooding, [Bewilderment] couldn’t be timelier.... Whether concerning family or nature, this heart-rending tale warns us to take nothing for granted. —Alexander C. Kafka, Boston Globe

The tenderness between father and son seem[s] so real and heartfelt that the novel becomes its own empathy machine. What’s more powerful, though, is how the emotions Bewilderment evokes expand far beyond the bond of father and son to embrace the living world. —Ellen Atkins, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Powers [has] an emotional core to everything he writes, and this sets him apart from nearly everyone.—David Yaffe, Air Mail

An unabashed tearjerker.... The most moving and inspiring of all Powers’s books.—Gish Jen, The New Republic

Intimate.…Powers is an essential member of the pantheon of writers who are using fiction to address climate change.—Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times

Powers succeeds in engaging both head and heart. And through its central story of bereavement, this novel of parenting and the environment becomes a multifaceted exploration of mortality.—The Economist Expand reviews