Parents | Raising readers & learners.

Home of Parent & Child Magazine

Orfeo: A Novel

Orfeo: A Novel

by Richard M. Powers

Seventy-year-old avant-garde composer Peter Els opens the door one evening to find the police on his doorstep. His home DIY microbiology lab-the latest experiment in his lifelong attempt to extract music from rich patterns beyond the ear's ability to hear-has come to the attention of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid on his house, Els turns fugitive, waiting for the evidence to clear him and for the alarm surrounding his activities to blow over. His days in hiding provoke memories of a turbulent century of musical turf wars and cause Els to reflect on a life spent chasing after transcendent sounds to the bewilderment of an indifferent public.

As the national hysteria for safety erupts again in the face of this latest threat, Els — the "Bioterrorist Bach" feeling the noose around him tighten — embarks on a cross-country trip to visit the people in his past who have most shaped his failed musical journey. Through the help of these peoplehis ex-wife, his daughter and his long-time artistic collaborator Els comes up with a plan to turn this disastrous collision with the security state into one last, resonant artwork that might reach an audience beyond his wildest dreams.

Interest Level
Grade 12
Mystery and Suspense

About the Author

Richard M. Powers Richard M. Powers was a prolific illustrator, best known for his work illustrating science fiction book covers such as "Pebble in the Sky."

The Reading Toolkit

Shop From Scholastic

Find Just-Right Books

Find Just-Right Books