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Bewilderment: A Novel por Richard Powers
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Bewilderment: A Novel (edição 2021)

por Richard Powers (Autor)

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2511083,658 (3.93)1 / 37
Título:Bewilderment: A Novel
Autores:Richard Powers (Autor)
Informação:W. W. Norton & Company (2021), 288 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:1st. nf. lit

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Bewilderment por Richard Powers

Adicionado recentemente porStanShebs, PatPinder, EmilyW916, hovimed, nytbestsellers, Jamsl, briannavanborssum, wv-osceola, AleAleta, biblioteca privada
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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Bewilderment - Powers
5 stars

It’s been more than 50 years since I first read Flowers for Algernon. I’ve probably reread it once or twice and I’m familiar with the movie. It’s a cautionary tale. Clearly, it’s also a template for this book. Bewilderment takes that cautionary tale to a new level. The book has less than 300 pages and I don’t know where to begin thinking about the many issues; ecological, social, political, psychological and overwhelmingly emotional; that Powers is pushing with this book.

Emotionally, this is a book about profound grief. A special child has lost his mother to a sudden accident. His surviving parent struggles through his own grief and the pressures of single parenting. Been there, done that. The nine year old Robin Byrne has special needs. He has been given a variety of labels indicative of autism. Such a child is challenging under the best circumstances. From personal experience, I can say that any child who has lost a parent is a special needs child. It’s a tough road. I felt this aspect of the story very personally. Power’s speculative neurofeedback treatment made me physically uneasy.
We all know what happened to Algernon.

There’s nothing subtle about the ecological and political messages of this book. It is a cautionary tale from beginning to end. I love the way Powers writes about the natural world. He brought the same kind of wonder to the imaginary planets Theo and Robin ‘travel’ to as a bedtime ritual. I understand the urge to escape to an imaginary alien planet. The political atmosphere of this book was far too close to reality for comfort. ( )
1 vote msjudy | Oct 2, 2021 |
"We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers.” In Bewilderment Richard Powers once again takes head on what we're collectively doing to our planet. it is long-listed for the Booker Prize, and provides excellent writing and storytelling. It's shorter and simpler than the complex Overstory. It centers around Theo and Robin Byrne, a grieving widowed father and his extremely sensitive 9 year old son. Theo is told son Robin is "on the spectrum" and Theo responds, "Everyone is on the spectrum". Love it! Robin has some Greta Thunberg in him, and is determined to protest the planetwide destruction he sees happening. There's an interesting plot thread where a highly specialized mind-training device brings Robin some emotional control and even wisdom. This is another timely, thought-provoking novel from Powers. ( )
1 vote jnwelch | Oct 1, 2021 |
This is my third novel of this Pulitzer Prize winning author. His previous novel, The Overstory was a favorite of mine so I jumped on this. Bewilderment is the story of a father and son. The father , Theo is an astrobiologist who teaches college and devotes his research to the investigation of another life sustaining planet, trying to convince the recent political party that the money for a NexGen telescope will assist with this quest. However his work demands and stresses are secondary to his raising of his nine year old son, Robin. They both are grieving the loss of Alyssa, the wife and mother that recently died in an auto accident. Theo’s first person narrative opens with a camping trip which both bonds the two and provides Robin with a break from school. He struggles in school and though it appears he is on the autistic spectrum, he is certainly bright and auto focused on his mother's passion for endangered species. “Life itself is a spectrum disorder, where each of us vibrated at some unique frequency in the continuous rainbow.” “I wanted to tell the man that everyone alive on this fluke little planet was on the spectrum. That’s what a spectrum is.”
Their story is a sad one as Theo looks to neuroscience to help solve the riddle of Robin's thoughts; he is also hoping to keep him from resorting to pharmaceutical solutions. Powers, always the scientist, can articulate well the explorations of the galaxies and his bedtime stories to his son are often visits to the possibilities of life forms in the universe. But it is his relationship with his son that propels the novel, the depiction is both realistic and tender to read. ( )
  novelcommentary | Sep 30, 2021 |
A huge letdown after The Overstory, Bewilderment by Richard Powers examines the similar theme of humans vs. nature but with much less finesse. In the near future, single father and astrobiologist Theo struggles to raise his son who has been diagnosed with many of the modern-day ailments that place him “on the spectrum”. Although the message remains clear and important, most of Bewilderment feels forced, trite, predictable, and holds none of the connections and characters that worked so well in The Overstory. Powers’ writing remains brilliant and the only real reason to start or stick with this book. ( )
1 vote Hccpsk | Sep 26, 2021 |
Bewilderment, Richard Powers, author; Edoardo Ballerini, narrator The novel is about the Byrne family, Alyssa, Theodore and Robin. Alyssa is quite intense. She is an environmental activist. Theodore is an astrobiologist. Robin, their son, is an exceptional child. He questions everything and is a deep thinker, often making astute judgments. At nine, he has already decided to be a vegan. He is very concerned about the environment and animals, like his mother. Robin, however, is also a troubled child. He has difficulty controlling his feelings. He has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, with obsessive traits, and there are hints that there may be other types of mental illness in the family as one mother supposedly had multiple personalities. When Alyssa and Theodore were contacted by her friend, a Dr. Currier, who is conducting a study of the brain, she and Theodore agree to participate. They had no idea that this study would ultimately change their lives. Raising Robin, after Alyssa’s sudden death in an accident, was very difficult for Theo. Robin had been very close to his mother. Although he used certain techniques to avoid his mood swings and meltdowns, they were sometimes unavoidable. Robin had no filter and often said and did awkward things. Because of his lack of social skills, and because he was small, he was the target of bullies at school. Also, he only liked certain subjects. As a result, he does not really like school. Doctors and the school wanted to have him medicated, but the Byrnes had always refused. Instead, they had actively parented him and guided him, teaching him how to deal with his emotions, as they gave him needed skills to manage his moods. Theo struggled to raise Robin. He used fantasy to distract him and told him about imaginary planets which they imagined they explored or inhabited. When Dr. Currier suddenly contacted Theo again to ask if he could conduct a brain study on Robin, to see if they could help him by retraining his brain, Theo reluctantly agreed. After a few MRI treatments that examined his reactions, he actually showed improvement. Collier then asked Theo if he could try to sync Robin’s brain with Alyssa’s, during a particular period of the study when she was ecstatic. Theo, consulted Robin, and once again, he agreed. Often, Theo appeared to be the child, and Robbie, showing extraordinary judgment, made the adult decisions. With the new therapy, Robin further improved. He seemed able to commune with Alyssa, and the other spirits he said were in his head. He believed they were guiding him. He was happier and did better in school. At age 9, Robin became a real animal activist. He wanted to raise money for endangered species but was horrified when he learned that all of the money did not go to the cause! When the brain study and the treatments were suddenly discontinued because of politics and funding, things went downhill for Robin, very quickly, and he began to withdraw and lose interest in everything. Once again, he had meltdowns that were sometimes violent, especially when animals suffered in any way or when his questions were not answered the way he wanted them to be. Without the therapy, he was failing. He was helpless to stop his downward progression and he was aware of it. Finally, to try and help Robin, Theo decided to take him on another trip to the place he had honeymooned with Alyssa. The first trip had been a positive experience, so he decided that they would go there to have a real scavenger hunt to search for things in nature. That appealed to the environmentalist in Robin, and he seemed to show some interest. Theo hoped that he could rebuild Robin’s confidence, calm him down, and fortify his mental state. However, when Robin witnessed the destruction of the environment there, he became very upset. He wanted to start cleaning it up immediately, without regard for the freezing temperatures. This forced Theo to face his worst nightmare. Using the experiences of this family, Powers seemed inclined to shine a light on all of earth’s problems, the unrest and riots, the corrupt elections and authoritarian Presidents, rules that limited speech, climate change that caused floods and storms, civil disobedience and assaults on the government, waning national security, deteriorating international relationships, and more importantly, the immediate need to make environmental changes to save the country and its people. He illustrated the corruption of government officials as they made foolish decisions to benefit political causes, rather than humanity’s causes, canceling vital projects, ultimately causing harm to the country. He illustrated the greed and selfishness that prevented the politicians and the citizens from doing what was right as they feathered their own nests. He pointed out the inability of our school systems and social services to handle children with disabilities. He pointed out the failures of education and the benefits of home schooling. He showed the consequences of political decisions that tragically caused shortages and disease to loom on the horizon. The book focused on our behavior as we caused the destruction of our world. Would it or could it be reversed? He even demonstrated the corruption of the police and the media, intent on headlines without regard for the consequences of their actions. At times, it seemed that the author leaned left, and his assumptions, sometimes colored by his personal politics, appeared to be blind to those who were really bringing the country to the edge of the abyss, as he often seemed to be accusing, symbolically and subtly, the wrong side of being the enemy he described. The offenses were often carried out by the left, but they were attributed to the right, or vice versa. Occasionally, the flashbacks were confusing. However, the novel was creative and the science seemed well researched. The overriding political themes were sometimes distracting. The story is a fantasy which required the reader to suspend disbelief, but some of the people and situations resembled well known people and real events. The author raised the most important issues facing society, issues that were and continue to be very real, although he used imaginary details. Positively, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the superb narrator who managed to give each character a distinct voice. The child and the world were both troubled. Would either be helped by the messages of this book? ( )
  thewanderingjew | Sep 25, 2021 |
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