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Bewilderment: A Novel

Bewilderment: A Novel

Signed First Edition Club Recommendation

"The concept of ‘bewilderment’ summons notions of loss, perplexity, and confusion—but as readers step into the world of Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers’s latest masterpiece, Bewilderment, they may at first feel anything but. This new novel is deeply grounded in empathy and wonder, as a weary, widowed father and his sensitive, at-times emotionally volatile nine-year-old son stargaze with focused curiosity. They consider imagined life in other galaxies while cherishing a bond with each other and with the natural world. Yet strands of grief, uncertainty, rage, and confusion weave into their lives via Powers’s rich and sonorous prose. Hope becomes inseparable from despair, and wonder in the bigness of the world is perpetually in danger of being drowned out by overwhelm. All this, seen through the eyes of the troubled young protagonist, makes moments of euphoria all the more thrilling, and loss all the more devastating. Bewilderment is a book about all that makes us human—art, science, intellect—but it’s particularly about our wild and dizzying palette of emotions; sometimes we feel dozens of ways, all at once. It’s a bewildering array, as plentiful as the stars in the night sky."

Alex M.

See all my recommendations »

Author Richard Powers
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date September 21, 2021
Section New Hardcover - Fiction / All Staff Suggestions / Fiction Suggestions / Alex M.
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9780393881141

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.

The astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual nine-year-old, Robin, following the death of his wife. Robin is a warm, kind boy who spends hours painting elaborate pictures of endangered animals. He’s also about to be expelled from third grade for smashing his friend in the face. As his son grows more troubled, Theo hopes to keep him off psychoactive drugs. He learns of an experimental neurofeedback treatment to bolster Robin’s emotional control, one that involves training the boy on the recorded patterns of his mother’s brain…

With its soaring descriptions of the natural world, its tantalizing vision of life beyond, and its account of a father and son’s ferocious love, Bewilderment marks Richard Powers’s most intimate and moving novel. At its heart lies the question: How can we tell our children the truth about this beautiful, imperiled planet?

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