Book review: Bewilderment by Richard Powers

Having read and enjoyed The Overstory by Richard Powers, which I reviewed here, I chose Bewilderment at the library.

This was a good book to read immediately after The Bird Way as bird-watching is a major theme in the novel, Bewilderment

Cover picture of Bewilderment with the text 'From the Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Bewilderment, Richard Powers, Author of the Booker-shortlisted The Overstory'. A face in profile is made from trees and birds above a rocky river, a heron has a fish in its beak.
Photo of library copy

The story highlights problems around raising a neurodivergent child. It is a gripping tale, which I could easily have read all in one day, had I not had other things to do. I finished reading it on the second day. The structure of Bewilderment is unusual with lots of short sections including flashbacks, which would make it easy to put down and pick up again for people with only short spells for reading.

It is not an easy read. There is much to think about in it. Having read it once for the story, I read it again to take in more of the ideas. Bewilderment raises many issues including scientific searches for new planets, climate change, the extinction of many species, the breakdown of democracy, and people’s behaviour and priorities in the age of social media.

Although the main characters seem to be atheists there is hope of redemption in the story.

It is a story of love and loss. Bewilderment was shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize. It is available as a hardback, paperback, Kindle edition and audiobook.

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