First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
A moving new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling and Booker-shortlisted author of The Overstory.
Theo Bryne 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. He is also on the verge of being expelled from school for smashing his friend’s face with a 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 won destruction? The only thing for it is to take the boy to other planets, all while fostering his son’s desperate attempt to save this one.
At the heart of Bewilderment lies the question: How can we tell our children the truth about this beautiful, imperilled planet?
Happy Friday everyone! Another work week filled emotional crests and troughs is done. It did test us in a lot of ways but I still hope you are all ending your week on a high. Hey, the weekend is just over the horizon. We can spend it wisely by finding time to recuperate and heal. Turn off those work laptops! It is time to think about yourself after a busy and challenging week. More importantly, I hope you are all keeping safe this time filled with uncertainties. With the year drawing to a close, I hope you receive the good news that you have been waiting for. I hope that the incoming year will bring us all happiness and good news. More importantly, I hope you stay healthy and well, in spirit, in body, and in mind. I am fervently praying that the pandemic will end soon.
I am currently in the midst of an American literature reading journey. I was supposed to read William Burrough’s Naked Lunch or James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain. Both are also part of two of my ongoing reading challenges; Beat the Backlist for the former and 2021 Top 21 Reading List. However, yesterday I received my copy of Richard Powers’ Bewilderment and Damon Galgut’s The Promise, the missing pieces in my 2021 Booker Prize shortlist collection. With the announcement of the winner in two weeks, I have decided to read my last two Booker nominated books. To still keep in tune with my motif for the month, I am starting with Powers’ Bewilderment.
I first came across Powers last year when I encountered a copy of The Overstory in the bookstore. Although the cover showcased its Pulitzer Prize win, I was daunted by the cover and its length. In hindsight, I was actually captivated by the cover but there was too much of nature in it that I bypassed it, for the meantime. However, when I learned that his latest work, Bewilderment, was longlisted and fearlessly forecasted by many a literary pundit to be shortlisted (which it eventually did), I just knew I have to give his prose a chance. Bewilderment is my fifth book from the shortlist and my ninth from the longlist.
Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten far into the narrative yet as I just started reading it this evening; I completed Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman earlier today. Nevertheless, I have already gotten to meet the novel’s main character, Theo Byrne. He is a young scientist and from what I have read so far, he is fascinated by the stars and the night sky. He is also a father to Robin, who he fondly calls Robbie. I am still trying to find my footing in the story and I still find it a little confusing. It does seem like it was set in the near future; I have not read any review of the book yet and the synopsis is not giving me much.
From The Overstory, I surmise that Powers has a fascination for nature and the environment. He incorporates it in his work, at least in the last two, making it a seminal element of his story. I can only conclude from what little knowledge I have of him. Although what I have read of the genre seem sparse, it does seem like nature fiction is slowly gaining momentum. Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations easily come to mind. But then again, with the eminent dangers of climate change, the discourse on environment and nature is certainly timely and needed. However, I do get the feeling that Bewilderment is set in the future. I do have so much to look forward to in my first Powers novel.
Bewilderment does seem like an interesting literary journey. I am also loving Powers’ language. There is a beauty and lyricism to it that just suits me. I am looking forward to unveiling more about Theo and Robbie although I surmise that there is more to it. Being a part of American literature, I can already conclude that there will be subtle (or perhaps crude) references to the contemporary political atmosphere. I do hope to finish the novel this weekend. How about you fellow reader? What book are you indulging on right now? I hope you are enjoying what you are reading. For now, happy weekend and as always, happy reading!