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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021.

The brand new novel from the Pulitzer prize-winning, booker prize-shortlisted author of The Overstory.

Picked as one of the Best Books of 2021 in the Sunday Times.

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, while all the while fostering his son's desperate campaign to help save this one.

©2021 Richard Powers (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Bewilderment

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Genuinely intriguing and addictive story!

I couldn't wait for the next chapter after the other. The author took the much needed time to paint this world and transcend the reader to his without rushing or making presumptions. Loved it!

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A Ripper Yarn

I loved this book. An intriguing story about a father and his highly sensitive son. Wonderful insights abound, with beautiful writing and piercing observations on the state of the planet’s natural world and our relationship with it. Powerfully narrated. Highly recommended!

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  • Dearauntie
  • 10-09-21

Brilliant Powers

I only discovered Powers quite recently and now I'm moving backwards and forwards through his catalogue, always surprised, never disappointed.
Bewilderment is a thing of beauty. Thoughtful, thought-provoking, joyful, heart-wrenchingly sad, inventive, inspiring. I love a lot of fiction but at 60yo, Powers has turned me into a raging, frothing fan-boy.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Juliet
  • 09-27-21

Think and think again

The story of a child endowed with too much empathy to cope in this world.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-16-21

Poignant and moving

...and so much more succinct than Overstory. A near future that feels nearer every day.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sean
  • 10-22-21

Beautifully poignant

Part eco story, part exploration of fatherhood, part wonderment about the endless possibilities in the universe. Movingly thoughtful and softly narrated.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-06-22

Brilliant but so very sad.

So brilliant. But so desperately sad. Grief in all its forms. Amazingly written and with such in depth research.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Abby
  • 11-26-21

Devastating

I struggled with the length of the Overstory, so this appealed as something much shorter but in a similar style. In both novels Powers deals with climate activism and human response to this, but where Overstory was a woven epic, this is a more simple and heartbreaking tale of a parent and child’s inability to make sense of the world as it is. I sobbed for the last ten minutes of the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jas Berrill
  • 11-12-21

Topical, satirical, thought-provoking

Loved this book, a critical look at the world we live in through the eyes of a troubled 9 year old.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-14-21

A book that forces you to reexamine our existance

A story that tugs at your hearstrings and lights a fire of frustration that the reader shares with a child who sees the world brimming with animal and plant life, yet is left agog at the destruction we humans persist in imparting on our dying plantet. Well written, with perseptive observations from both a bereaved father and son's views of the world.

1 person found this helpful

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  • james walker
  • 10-11-21

Every belief will be outgrown in time

This is the poignant tale of a widowed astrophysicist raising his son that explores the inner and outer realms of life, the universe and everything. The scariest part is witnessing a too believable future shaped by Trumpian ideology in which consumerism and populism determine decision making in the 'endless American civil war'. The bewilderment of the title refers to what we are doing to the planet and each other.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 05-25-22

mmm not his best

I wanted to like this and on some levels I did. but ultimately it's predictable, whiny, unrealistic and doesn't go anywhere. not much nuance and not even in the same universe as the overstory.b felt more like an experiment that shouldn't have been published.

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  • Kacie
  • 02-14-22

Brilliant and timely

I really enjoyed this book. Unique take on the real life issues we are currently dealing with regarding climate change and what that means for future generations. I loved unpacking the relationship between father and son and son and the world!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mikewr
  • 07-14-22

here and beyond

Theo and Robbin. their journey is our journey. a happy ending? what a universe we live in.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-10-22

Beautiful

Beautiful. heartbreaking. Thought-provoking. A world where what is science and what is speculative is thrown into question in the best kind of way

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-17-22

I’m bewildered after this

Very hard to maintain concentration with this one, the narrator should be applauded for sticking with it.

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  • David Schmid
  • 02-15-22

Powerful book!

Gripping from start to end. Mind expanding, beautifully written and expertly narrated. Can't recommend this enough.