Book of the Month – October 2021

Bewilderment by Richard Powers

Our October choice is Bewilderment by Richard Powers

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.

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021, Bewilderment is the latest novel from Richard Powers. His last book, The Overstory, was an international sensation, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Read it? Loved it? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #HBOTM.

Buy the book

BOOK OF THE MONTH LIVE Q&A with Richard Powers took place on Thursday 21 October 2021, 7pm

Watch again below or on Hay Player.

Further reading

"We're completely alienated from everything else alive", The Guardian

Richard Powers, The Art of Fiction No. 175, The Paris Review 

About the author

Richard Powers has published thirteen novels. He is a MacArthur Fellow and received the National Book Award. His most recent book, The Overstory, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He lives in the Great Smoky Mountains.

About Hay Festival's Book of the Month

Hay Festival's Book of the Month is our monthly recommendation of a title we love and think holds particular resonance today. This is our chance to celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry – new and old.

Throughout the month, we'll share interesting links and articles relating to our selection on social media using #HBOTM and invite you all to get involved with your questions and comments.

Each month we'll have a free digital event with the author for you to ask them questions and explore their ideas further.

If you'd like to recommend a book for consideration, please share on social media using #HBOTM.

Happy reading!