William Heinemann will publish Bewilderment, Richard Powers' first novel since his Booker shortlisted, Pulitzer Prize-winning The Overstory (William Heinemann, 2018).
Publisher Jason Arthur has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White on behalf of Melanie Jackson of the Melanie Jackson Agency. Bewilderment will be published on 28th September 2021. The paperback will be published by Vintage in September 2022.
The novel will follow Theo Byrne, 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 an "unusual" nine-year-old. His son Robin 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. When doctors offer Theo's son psychoactive drugs, Theo feels the only solution is to take the boy to other planets, while all the while fostering his son’s desperate campaign to help save this one.
Arthur commented: "Moving and fascinating, terrifying and compelling, Bewilderment is a fabulous novel about the state of the world and the mess we are bequeathing future generations, and has at its heart a wonderfully touching and devastating father/son relationship. I couldn’t have wished for a better book from Richard with which to follow his Booker Prize-shortlisted, Pulitzer Prize-winning The Overstory. It's a tremendous achievement."
Beth Coates, publishing director at Vintage, said: "It’s joyful how The Overstory has resonated with such a huge audience, and we can’t wait to see the same with Bewilderment, another dazzling, devastating masterpiece from one of our most treasured authors on the Vintage list."