49 pages 1 hour read

Richard Powers


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

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Part 3, Pages 97-141Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 3, Pages 97-106 Summary

Robin protests at the state Capitol building. Though he’s protesting alone, people begin to take notice. Theo tries to work on a nearby bench, but Robin forbids him from joining the protest. As he watches he son, he receives news of an emergency meeting at his university: The President has cancelled the visas of all the Chinese students, including Jinjing. Meanwhile, a politician from inside the Capitol is concerned about Robin. He criticizes Theo for letting Robin protest. Theo tells Robin that they need to leave; Robin doesn’t argue. Instead, he wonders how his mother managed to fight for such causes for so long.

Theo and Robin think about another imaginary planet. Robin suggests that its inhabitants are hiding from humanity.

By the summer, Robin has sunk into a deep malaise. He stays in his bed and refuses to leave his room. Theo meets with Currier to try to determine why the treatment is no longer effective. All the while, the ongoing political crisis involves more revoked visas, record heatwaves, and “clusters of lethal bacteria” (100) spreading throughout Florida, all of which the President dismisses. Currier speculates whether Robin’s sadness is empathy for the world’s escalating failings. Just before they part, Currier admits that he never disposed of Alyssa’s brain scan.