Picked as one of the 'best books of 2021' in the Sunday Times
I never believed the diagnoses the doctors settled on my son. When a condition gets three different names over as many decades, when it goes from non-existent to the country's most commonly diagnosed childhood disorder in one generation, when two different physicians want to prescribe three different medications, there's something wrong...
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.
With its first few pages, Powers' novel completely captivated us and with its last, it bowled us over. Powers creates a texture and specificity to our future that feels simultaneously sweepingly large and breathtakingly intimate, told through the most relatable point of view: the ferocious love of a parent for his child and his struggle to provide him a better tomorrow.
Three Penguin Random House books have made it onto the shortlist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize; making up half of the six-strong list.