Mr B's review
Theo is a promising scientist and widowed father to an unusual nine-year old. Theo knows that Robin is special, but Robin’s school wants him medicated. To keep his son off drugs, Theo puts his son forward for an experimental neuroscientific treatment. The results are extraordinary, changing their lives, and possibly the world. A heart-rending study of childhood and astronomy, parenthood and the eternal, Bewilderment is a novel of high intelligence and emotion.
**THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER**
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2021**
A father. A son. A bewildering world.
Discover the breath-taking new novel from the million-copy bestselling author of The Overstory.
‘The love between son and father has an emotional truth that wrings the heart’ Guardian
Theo Byrne is a promising young scientist 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. But after a violent outburst from Robin at school, the strength of their close bond will be tested to its limits…
What can a father do, when those around him refuse to understand his rare and troubled child? And how can he reveal to his boy the truth about our beautiful, bewildered world?
‘This book had me in tears’ Monique Roffey, author of The Mermaid of Black Conch
‘Refreshing, original and moving’ Evening Standard
‘It is impossible to deny the importance of Powers’ message’ Sunday Times
Mingling ideas about neurodivergence, astrobiology, political radicalisation and environmental collapse… There is no question that Powers is a novelist of considerable, well, powers…. Bewilderment is both touching and finely written * Telegraph * Reading a Powers novel is like boarding a tour bus when you have a single day to explore an unfamiliar city. Bewilderment, his Booker-longlisted new novel, is a hop-on, hop-off trip around astrobiology, climate breakdown and neuro-feedback therapy… it is impossible to deny the importance of Powers’s message * Sunday Times * Powers is a former computer programmer whose ideas-rich fiction grounds the grandest scientific concepts in everyday experience. For him, environmental crisis means that we must share the pain not just of fellow-humans but other life-forms threatened by our botched stewardship of Earth…. Powers’s unchained imagination stretches its empathy circle from lichen to nebulae, in finely crafted prose * Financial Times * Refreshing, original and moving * Evening Standard * Powers has the rare gift of being able to deal with big ideas while keeping you interested in the lives and emotions of his characters — Sebastian Faulks A heartfelt cry for climate awareness, with fantastical digressions to other planets and a rueful celebration of our own * Guardian * It’s a wonderful story – taut, touching and wholehearted * Psychologies * Intense and disturbing * Mail on Sunday * A beautiful and thoughtfully written novel * Good Housekeeping * Impressively precise in its scientific conjectures, Bewilderment is no less rich or wise in its emotionality…. channels both the cosmic sublime and that of the vast American outdoors, resting confidently in a lineage with Thoreau and Whitman, Dillard and Kerouac… Sorrowing awe is Bewilderment’s primary tone, and its many remarkable scenes are controlled with high novelistic intelligence. * Observer * It’s deftly crafted, packs an emotional punch, and Powers’s urgent environmental message, delivered by the Greta Thunberg-like Robin, comes through loud and clear * Daily Mail * Powers is extremely good at creating a very specific emotion in the reader: a potent mix of sadness and guilt. He’s also a wizard when it comes to telling us about trees, rivers, insects and birds * Spectator * Bewilderment is a compelling story about love in a dying world * Irish Independent * 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 * Economist * It is a thoughtful exploration of individual grief, a study in empathy for the biosphere, a questioning of the medical profession’s pathologising of children and a beginner’s guide to eco-biology… Bewilderment is both cerebral and heartfelt, a rigorous and damning assessment of the state of the world today. A call to arms for empathy and action * Irish Times * Utterly absorbing * Daily Mail * One of our most lavishly gifted writers * New Yorker * Nothing less than brilliant — John Updike It’s not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book — Margaret Atwood With its first few pages, Powers’ novel completely captivated us and with its last, it bowled us over. Powers creates a texture and specificity to our future that feels simultaneously sweepingly large and breathtakingly intimate, told through the most relatable point of view: the ferocious love of a parent for his child and his struggle to provide him a better tomorrow. — Leigh Kittay, Black Bear’s Head of Film On The Overstory: It changed how I thought about the Earth and our place in it . . . It changed how I see things and that’s always, for me, a mark of a book worth reading. — Barack Obama On The Overstory: Really, just one of the best novels, period — Ann Patchett On The Overstory: Monumental . . . breath-taking . . . a gigantic fable of genuine truths — Barbara Kingsolver On The Overstory: Exhilarating . . . on almost every page you will find sentences that combine precision and vision * The Times * On The Overstory: The best book I’ve read in ten years. A remarkable piece of literature — Emma Thompson On The Overstory: An extraordinary novel . . . an astonishing performance . . . he is incredibly good at turning science into poetry * Guardian * The success of the story – and a success it is – comes not from the ingenious scientific speculations, nor the shrewd literary connections (on the “emotional telepathy” of a work of art, or Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon), but the human story between father and son, as Theo finds out ‘how my brain learns to resemble what it loves * The Critic * Richard Powers’s Booker Prize-shortlisted novel is both brutal and heartwarming, intimate and profound. A masterfully curated story of love, grief and loneliness, quietly building to an inevitable and devastating close * Press Association * He composes some of the most beautiful sentences I’ve ever read. I’m in awe of his talent — Oprah Winfrey In Bewilderment, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist has crafted a story of great beauty and power * Business Post *
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