Orfeo (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In his latest novel, Orfeo, National Book Award winner Powers has crafted a moving rumination  on life, regret and the search for transcendence. An aging composer who hears music in everything forays into amateur biochemistry, attempting to encode a song in bacterial DNA. However, his experiments draw the attention of Homeland Security, and he suddenly finds himself on a fugitive quest into his own past. Sound ludicrous? Well, Powers pulls it off brilliantly. His prose is achingly beautiful. Extended descriptions of music--both real and imagined--are rendered in entrancing flights of language. And the story unfolds in a continuous succession of memorable characters and scenes, ultimately ending on a note of climatic emotional resonance that is at once breathtaking, heartbreaking and damn near perfect.

— Keaton

February 2014 Indie Next List

“Orfeo is the kind of novel that creeps slowly into a reader's consciousness and makes a home there. A beautiful, cerebral book that's as concerned with the past and how the decisions made by protagonist Peter Els shaped his personal philosophies and relationships and how music played a role in it all, as it is with the very real present and how Peter's hobbyist interest in DNA makes him an accidental bioterrorism threat. Orfeo is an intelligent and incredibly moving portrait of the role of art in both one man's life and society as a whole. Stunning!”
— Lauren Wiser, Left Bank Books, Saint Louis, MO


A Chicago Tribune 'Best Books of 2014'
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393349849
ISBN-10: 0393349845
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 2nd, 2014
Pages: 400
Language: English