Richard Powers - Author

About the Author

Richard Powers has been a recipient of a Lannan Literary Award and a MacArthur Fellowship, as well as a winner of the US National Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is the author of eight novels, including The Time of our Singing, Plowing the Dark, and Gain. He lives in Los Angeles.

Featured books by Richard Powers

Orfeo

Orfeo

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/07/2014

Longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2014. Seventy-year old avant-garde composer Peter Els opens the door one evening to find the police outside. His DIY microbiology lab - the latest experiment in his lifelong attempt to extract music from rich patterns beyond the ear's ability to hear - has come to the attention of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid on his house, Els flees and turns fugitive, waiting for the evidence to clear him and for the alarm surrounding his activities to blow over. But alarm turns to national hysteria, as the government promises a panicked nation that the 'Bioterrorist Bach' will be found and brought to trial. As Els feels the noose around him tighten, he embarks on a cross-country trip to visit, one last time, the people in his past who have most shaped his failed musical journey. And through the help of these people - his ex-wife, his daughter, and his longtime artistic collaborator - Els comes up with a plan to turn this disastrous collision with national security into one last, resonant, calamitous artwork that might reach an audience beyond his wildest dreams.

Other books by Richard Powers

The Overstory

The Overstory

Author: Richard Powers Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/04/2018

'It's not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book.' Margaret Atwood A monumental novel about trees and people by one of our most 'prodigiously talented' (The New York Times Book Review) novelists. The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers - each summoned in different ways by trees - are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. There is a world alongside ours - vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

The Overstory

The Overstory

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2018

'It's not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book.' Margaret Atwood A monumental novel about trees and people by one of our most 'prodigiously talented' (The New York Times Book Review) novelists. The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers - each summoned in different ways by trees - are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. There is a world alongside ours - vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

The Overstory A Novel

The Overstory A Novel

Author: Richard Powers Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/03/2018

An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers-each summoned in different ways by trees-are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. In his twelfth novel, National Book Award winner Richard Powers delivers a sweeping, impassioned novel of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of-and paean to-the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours-vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe. The Overstory is a book for all readers who despair of humanity's self-imposed separation from the rest of creation and who hope for the transformative, regenerating possibility of a homecoming. If the trees of this earth could speak, what would they tell us? Listen. There's something you need to hear.

Orfeo A Novel

Orfeo A Novel

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/08/2014

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).

Prisoner's Dilemma

Prisoner's Dilemma

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2010

Something is wrong with Eddie Hobson Sr., father of four, sometime history teacher, quizmaster, black humorist, and invalid. His recurring fainting spells have worsened, and with his ingrained aversion to doctors, his worried family tries to discover the nature of his sickness. Meanwhile, in private, Eddie puts the finishing touches on a secret project he calls 'Hobstown', a place that he promises will save him, the world, and everything that's in it.

The Gold Bug Variations

The Gold Bug Variations

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2010

The Gold Bug Variations is a double love story of two young couples separated by a distance of twenty-five years. Stuart Ressler, a brilliant young molecular biologist, sets out in 1957 to crack the genetic code. His efforts are sidetracked by other, more intractable codes - social, moral, musical, spiritual - and he falls in love with a member of his research team. Years later, another young man and woman team up to investigate a different scientific mystery - why did the eminently promising Ressler suddenly disappear from the world of science? Strand by strand, these two love stories twist about each other in a double helix of desire.

Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance

Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2010

Richard Powers is one of the foremost talents of contemporary American literature, winner of the 2006 US National Book Award, and shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. In the spring of 1914, renowned photographer August Sander took a photograph of three young men on their way to a country dance. This haunting image, capturing the last moments of innocence on the brink of World War I, provides the central focus of Powers' brilliant and compelling novel. As the fate of the three farmers is chronicled, two contemporary stories unfold. The young narrator becomes obsessed with the photo, while Peter Mays, a computer writer in Boston, discovers he has a personal link with it. The three stories connect in a surprising way and provide the reader with a mystery that spans a century of brutality and progress.

Galatea 2.2

Galatea 2.2

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2010

After many years of living abroad, a young writer returns to the United States to take up the position of Humanist-in-Residence at the Centre for the Study of Advanced Sciences. There he encounters Philip Lentz, an outspoken cognitive neurologist intent on using computers to model the human brain. Lentz involves the writer in an outlandish and irresistible project: to train a neural net by reading a canonical list of Great Books. Through repeated tutorials, the machine grows gradually more worldly, until it demands to know its own age, sex, race, and reason for existing...

Generosity

Generosity

Author: Richard Powers Format: eBook Release Date: 29/09/2009

FROM THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE ECHO MAKER, A PLAYFUL AND PROVOCATIVE NOVEL ABOUT THE DISCOVERY OF THE HAPPINESS GENEWhen Chicagoan Russell Stone finds himself teaching a Creative Nonfiction class, he encounters a young Algerian woman with a disturbingly luminous presence. Thassadit Amzwar's blissful exuberance both entrances and puzzles the melancholic Russell. How can this refugee from perpetual terror be so happy? Won't someone so open and alive come to serious harm? Wondering how to protect her, Russell researches her war-torn country and skims through popular happiness manuals. Might her condition be hyperthymia? Hypomania? Russell's amateur inquiries lead him to college counselor Candace Weld, who also falls under Thassa's spell. Dubbed Miss Generosity by her classmates, Thassa's joyful personality comes to the attention of the notorious geneticist and advocate for genomic enhancement, Thomas Kurton, whose research leads him to announce the genotype for happiness. Russell and Candace, now lovers, fail to protect Thassa from the growing media circus. Thassa's congenital optimism is soon severely tested. Devoured by the public as a living prophecy, her genetic secret will transform both Russell and Kurton, as well as the country at large. What will happen to life when science identifies the genetic basis of happiness? Who will own the patent? Do we dare revise our own temperaments? Funny, fast, and finally magical, Generosity celebrates both science and the freed imagination. In his most exuberant book yet, Richard Powers asks us to consider the big questions facing humankind as we begin to rewrite our own existence.

The Echo Maker

The Echo Maker

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2007

On a winter night on a remote road in Nebraska, Mark Schluter's truck turns over in a near fatal accident. His sister, Karin, returns reluctantly to their home town to look after him. But when he finally awakes from his coma, Mark believes that Karin - who looks, acts and sounds just like his sister - is really an identical imposter. Shattered by her brother's refusal to recognise her, Karin contacts Dr Gerald Weber, famous for his case studies describing the infinitely bizarre worlds of brain disorder. But what Weber discovers in Mark begins to undermine even his own sense of self. Meanwhile Mark, armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness, attempts to learn what happened on the night of his accident. The truth of that evening will change the lives of all three beyond recognition. Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.

Echo Maker

Echo Maker

Author: Richard Powers Format: eBook Release Date: 01/04/2007

On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, twenty-seven year old Mark Schluter flips his truck in a near fatal accident. His older sister, Karin, returns to nurse Mark back from a traumatic head injury. But when he emerges from a coma, Mark believes that this woman is really an impostor who looks just like his sister. Shattered, Karin contacts the cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber, who eagerly investigates. What he discovers in Mark slowly undermines even his own sense of being. Meanwhile, Mark attempts to learn what happened the night of his inexplicable accident-armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness.

Time Of Our Singing

Time Of Our Singing

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/02/2004

Jonah, Joseph and Ruth are the children of mixed-race parents determined to protect them from the grinding effects of race. Hothouse children, they are all musically talented, but they cannot be protected from the world for long. Jonah becomes a successful young tenor, but the world of opera can only accept him as a 'brilliant Negro singer'; Joseph, our narrator, becomes a pianist and devotes his talents to the service of his brother's; Ruth turns her back on classical music ('white music') and disappears, on the run with her black husband under suspicion of being a Black Panther. Powers brilliantly and devastatingly delineates the tragedy of race in America, as it unfolds from the Civil Rights movement to Rodney King and Louis Farrakhan, through the lives and choices of one family, caught on the cusp of identities.

Plowing The Dark

Plowing The Dark

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2002

In a digital laboratory on the shores of Puget Sound, virtual reality researchers race to complete the Cavern, a bland white room that can become a jungle, a painting, or a vast Byzantine cathedral. In a war-torn city on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, an American is held hostage, chained to a radiator in an empty white room... Adie Klarpol, a disillusioned artist, is invigorated by the thrill of working with the Cavern's cutting-edge technology. As Cold War empires collapse and the Berlin Wall falls, she retreats into the cyber-realities she has been hired to create. In Beirut, English teacher Taimur Martin is held in solitary confinement by Islamic fundamentalists, where he must keep his mind whole by the force of his memory alone. What can possibly join two such remote places? Only the shared imagination, a room that these two people unwittingly build in common, where the strands of this wildly inventive novel coalesce into one.

Gain

Gain

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2001

Richard Powers' novel is a fascinating and profound exploration of the interaction of an individual human life and a corporate one. It tells two stories: the first that of an American company, which starts as a small family soap and candle-making firm in the early 1800s, and ends as a vast pharmaceuticals-to-pesticides combine in the 1990s. The second is that of a contemporary woman, living in the company town, who during the course of the novel is diagnosed and then finally dies of cancer, a cancer that is almost certainly caused by exposure to chemical wastes from the company's factories. Richly intellectually stimulating, deeply moving and beautifully written, Gain is very much a 'Great American Novel', an exploration of the history, uniqueness and soul of America, in the tradition of Underworld. But it is most reminiscent of Graham Swift's Waterland, another novel that combines history, both public and private, with contemporary lives, showing how individuals are both the victims and shapers of large-scale historical and economic forces

Rcf Richard Powers/Rikki Ducornet

Rcf Richard Powers/Rikki Ducornet

Author: Richard Powers Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/01/1998

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