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Bewilderness by Karen Tucker

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This novel received “Most anticipated for 2021” from both Electric Literature and Rumpus. Irene, the novel’s narrator, and Luce both work at a pool hall in a small town in the North Carolina Mountains. Their friendship is cemented by a joyride to take revenge on an especially creepy customer.  Then their adventures begin to involve more dangerous escapades to secure the pills they become more and more dependent upon. When Luce finds a boyfriend who convinces her to choose him over drugs and move to Florida, what’s next for Irene? "Karen Tucker's debut novel Bewilderness captures the relentless tug of addiction--to a person, to a substance, to a feeling--with wrenching honesty and insight. This fierce, heartbreaking story of female friendship and loss--narrated by the wise, sharply funny Irene--had me riveted from the first page. Read it, read it, read it."--Julie Buntin.  "The kind of book that crawls under your skin and lodges there, Karen Tucker's Bewilderness offers an intimate, riveting portrait of two close friends whose hopes for their lives get derailed because of their addictions, and who struggle to figure out if having any future at all is something either of them will get to have . . . Tucker has written a powerfully intimate, heartbreaking portrait of this country's opioid epidemic, making clear the many ways that this isn't a problem happening to other people—it's happening to all of us, and it's imperative we deal with it together." —Kristin Iversen. The author, Karen Tucker, is a North Carolina native who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She received her MFA from Warren Wilson and her PhD in English and Creative Writing from Florida State.

New York: Catapult/ Penguin Random House, 2021. 277 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.