BookBrowse Reviews Orfeo by Richard Powers

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  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 393 pages
    Sep 2014, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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About this Book



In Orfeo, Richard Powers tells the story of a man journeying into his past as he desperately flees the present.

In an age of increasing paranoia, what does hell look like? What happens when an unsuspecting victim gets trapped in its recesses? In a pitch-perfect retelling of the myth of Orpheus, Richard Powers reflects on the life of an everyman, Peter Els, as he is inadvertently pulled into a maelstrom of events beyond his control. In the process, Powers paints a deeply affecting look at a life filled with regret and loss - yet one lived with measured grace.

As Orfeo opens, seventy-year-old Peter Els places a 9-1-1 call in an act of desperation, hoping it might save his dying dog's life. The officers who respond think it's weird enough that this retired professor of music composition called emergency services for a pet, but what really gets their attention is a whole range of laboratory equipment — beakers, reagents and such — strewn around the house. As it happens, Peter is ...

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