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Orfeo

Orfeo

In Orfeo, Powers tells the story of a man journeying into his past as he desperately flees the present. Seventy-year old avant-garde composer Peter Els opens his front door one evening to find the police on his doorstep. His home microbiology lab – the latest experiment in his lifelong attempt to discover musical patterns in DNA strands – has come to the attention of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid, Els flees and turns fugitive, waiting for the evidence to clear him and for the alarm 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 he loves, those who shaped his musical journey. Through the help of his ex-wife, his daughter, and his longtime artistic collaborator, Els comes up with a plan to turn his disastrous collision with national security into one last, resonant, calamitous artwork that might reach an audience beyond his wildest dreams.

About the Author

Richard Powers

Richard Powers has been a recipient of a Lannan Literary Award and a MacArthur Fellowshop, 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 Dar, and Gain. He lives in Los Angeles.