Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2021. An astrobiologist thinks of a creative way to help his rare and troubled son in Richard Powers’ deeply moving and brilliantly original novel.

Theo Byrne is an astrobiologist. He is also the widowed father of a most unusual nine-year-old. Robin is loving, funny and full of plans to save the world. He is also about to be expelled, for smashing his friend’s face in with a metal thermos. What can a father do, when the only solution offered is to put his boy on psychoactive drugs? What can he say, when his boy asks why we are destroying the world? The only thing to do is to take the boy to other planets, while helping him to save this one.

The 2021 Booker Prize
Published by
Hutchinson Heinemann
Publication date
Richard Powers

Richard Powers

About the Author

Richard Powers is the multi-award-winning American author of 13 novels, who has now been shortlisted twice for the Booker Prize.
More about Richard Powers

The astrobiology and neuroscience in Bewilderment – two fields undergoing rapid and dramatic revolutions – are really ways into much older and more intimate human passions

Listen to an extract from Bewilderment

Edoardo Ballerini brings Bewilderment to life in the audiobook.

Audiobook cover for Bewilderment on a blue-coloured background.

Powers is an essential member of the pantheon of writers who are using fiction to address climate change. Bewilderment shows how tenuous their hopes may be

Other nominated books by Richard Powers

The Overstory