The National Book Award–winning author of The Echo Maker delivers his most emotionally charged novel to date, inspired by the myth of Orpheus.
"If Powers were an American writer of the nineteenth century…he'd probably be the Herman Melville of Moby-Dick. His picture is that big," wrote Margaret Atwood (New York Review of Books). Indeed, since his debut in 1985 with Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, Richard Powers has been astonishing readers with novels that are sweeping in range, dazzling in technique, and rich in their explorations of music, art, literature, and technology.
In Orfeo, Powers tells the story of a man journeying into his past as he desperately flees the present. Composer Peter Els opens the door one evening to find the police on his doorstep. His home microbiology lab—the latest experiment in his lifelong attempt to find music in surprising patterns—has aroused the suspicions of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid, Els turns fugitive. As an Internet-fueled hysteria erupts, Els—the "Bioterrorist Bach"—pays a final visit to the people he loves, those who shaped his musical journey. Through the help of his ex-wife, his daughter, and his longtime collaborator, Els hatches a plan to turn this disastrous collision with the security state into a work of art that will reawaken its audience to the sounds all around them. The result is a novel that soars in spirit and language by a writer who “may be America’s most ambitious novelist” (Kevin Berger, San Francisco Chronicle).
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Monday, December 31, 2012
Powers will be reading at Stanford University on February 13, 2013,where he is the Stein Visiting Writer. A Reading by the Stein Visiting Writer, Richard Powers Event Details: Date: Wednesday, 2/13/13 Time: 8:00pm Location: Cemex Auditorium, Zambrano Hall, Knight Management Center
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Just out--a new novella / long short story by Powers. Available as a download via Byliner.com. Description from the iTunes store:
"In "Genie," a short story of epic proportions, Powers goes sci-fi: he turns a failing relationship between a randy scientist and a staid statistician into a quest—not only for love and connection but for a way to connect to intelligent life in the universe. Anca is an ambitious cellular biologist determined to be the first to diffuse the microbial time bombs inside ever more fatal viruses. Warren works in numbers and codes. He follows the rules and likes it that way. When Anca uses the opportunity of a romantic camping trip to swipe samples of ancient bacteria from one of Yellowstone National Park’s fumaroles—bubbling pools filled with life more diverse than in a rainforest—Warren sees the writing on the wall: Anca will never behave. They break up, until Anca makes a discovery that is just too mind-blowing to handle alone. Could she have found proof of intelligent design, the signature of the creator himself? Or is it a message left by an unknown—and unearthly—life form? The race that Anca and Warren embark on together will change everything they have ever believed or felt—about life, each other, and the mysteries of the cosmos."
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
For those of you out there who might be collectors, take a look at what's on offer these days at abebooks. Some very rare stuff--particularly the proofs of the first two novels. Maybe someday....
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Powers taught a course in Berlin this past Spring, exploring the collision of fact and fiction in writing, and this is his report from the front lines.
My students have swallowed every bastard hybrid genre I’ve thrown at them. Fictocriticism, mockumentary, staged reality, Borgesian simulated lectures, psycho-journalism, unattributed sampling, hip-hop mashup, real actors playing imaginary authors making pixelated media appearances while selling brutally frank memoirs filled with the slightly altered real-life experiences of some other, dissembling author. My sales pitch has worked so well with this group that, by the end of the semester, I’m appalled at what I’ve unleashed. James Frey, J. T. LeRoy, lonelygirl15, COPS and Survivor and America’s Next Top Model: bring it all on, my German students say. The blurrier the better. They have grown up in a world that laughs at the very distinctions that I’ve come here to challenge, and in class, they regard me with affectionate pity for my quaint belief in the existence of boundaries that a writer might still hope to exploit by transgressing.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Just FYI for readers of this blog--in the past I have been able to help support this website through amazon associate sales. As of last week, amazon dumped all of its California associates, including yours truly. Therefore I would request that you not purchase any Powers titles through this blog, but patronize your local independent bookstore instead.