AN OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB SELECTION
An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2021
Shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize and Longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction
A Best Book/Best Novel of 2021 at NPR, Newsweek, The Boston Globe, Audible, Goodreads, Christian Science Monitor, Library Journal, Garden & Gun Magazine, and many more
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?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers gives us a gorgeous novel centered on the relationship between a father and son and universal themes of love and grief. After his wife dies, Theo—an astrobiologist and newly single father—sets off on an incredible journey, navigating uncharted territory with his sensitive, apprehensive son, Robin. Theo draws on their shared passion for the cosmos to come up with dazzling bedtime stories full of descriptions of dreamed-up landscapes. Meanwhile, the grieving Robin becomes increasingly disturbed and violent, and experimental neurofeedback therapy may be his only hope. Powers takes us on an unforgettable journey, offering wise insights into the surfaces of fascinating new planets and the beautiful, complex topography of family relationships. Bewilderment is a deeply intimate tale that pierces the heart and ignites the imagination.
Title describes my feelings
Unlike his other books I’ve read, Bewilderment left me confused, look for a pertinent path and found too many circular and winding roads to nowhere. Powers’ gift of writing still captivates me, and I’ll pick up another of his soon.
Beautifully woven tale with picturesque descriptions and amazing ideas ranging from astronomy, neuroscience, environmental issues and the meaning of life itself, all nesting within a poignant family story. For fans of Overstory, this is more digestible but as powerful. Short of 5 stars as at times it oscillates between technical and sappy.
It captures our wisdom and our unknowing... on so many levels - from humans and micro organisms to vast galaxies - we know a lot and understand so little. The story is a beautiful allegory, from a heartfelt father and son's perspective... characters so well described, they represent the universality of suffering and the depth of love and the human heart in all creatures.