49 pages 1 hour read

Richard Powers


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

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Important Quotes

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“Darkness this good was hard to come by.”

(Part 1, Page 6)

Theo and Robin have endured dark moments in their lives. Alyssa’s death and Robin’s neurodivergent condition can make the real world feel like a dark, unwelcoming place. Out in the wilderness, however, they discover a different darkness. The natural world and the depths of space provide Robin and Theo with a welcoming form of darkness that they can’t find in society. They don’t necessarily want to escape the dark, but they want to change the kind of darkness they experience. Society isn’t a happy place for them.

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“He was a boy attuned to loss.” 

(Part 1, Page 5)

Theo is worried about discussing the true nature of the universe with his son because he recognizes the pessimistic, depressing nature of so much emptiness and destruction. Robin recently lost his mother and his dog. Coupled with his struggles at school, Robin’s mental health is tenuous. Theo worries that if he discusses the universe too flippantly, it will affect his son’s capacity to view the world in emotional terms. Robin’s experiences mean that he’s primed to empathize with something as unknowable and terrifying as the emptiness of the universe. Theo doesn’t want to burden him with this potentially terrible knowledge.