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?
"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
"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
"As in The Overstory, Powers seamlessly yet indelibly melds science and humanity, hope and despair." - Dale Singer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"[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
"Achingly current and wise." - Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post
"Searing ... seamlessly blends science, emotion and philosophy in a way that only [Powers] can." - Juliana Rose Pignataro, Newsweek
"In Bewilderment, [Powers's] mastery strikes a new vein....it raises goosebumps and breaks our hearts." - John Domini, The Brooklyn Rail
"[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