A magisterial new novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning and New York Times best-selling author of The Overstory and Bewilderment.

Four lives are drawn together in a sweeping, panoramic new novel from Richard Powers, showcasing the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Overstory at the height of his skills. Twelve-year-old Evie Beaulieu sinks to the bottom of a swimming pool in Montreal strapped to one of the world’s first aqualungs. Ina Aroita grows up on naval bases across the Pacific with art as her only home. Two polar opposites at an elite Chicago high school bond over a three-thousand-year-old board game; Rafi Young will get lost in literature, while Todd Keane’s work will lead to a startling AI breakthrough.

They meet on the history-scarred island of Makatea in French Polynesia, whose deposits of phosphorus once helped to feed the world. Now the tiny atoll has been chosen for humanity’s next adventure: a plan to send floating, autonomous cities out onto the open sea. But first, the island’s residents must vote to greenlight the project or turn the seasteaders away.

Set in the world’s largest ocean, this awe-filled book explores that last wild place we have yet to colonize in a still-unfolding oceanic game, and interweaves beautiful writing, rich characterization, profound themes of technology and the environment, and a deep exploration of our shared humanity in a way only Richard Powers can.

Playground by Richard Powers

Praise for Richard Powers

The Overstory 

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize • #1 New York Times Bestseller

“It changed how I thought about the Earth and our place in it…It changed how I see things and that’s always, for me, a mark of a book worth reading.” —Barack Obama

“Monumental…accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt…[A] gigantic fable of genuine truths.” —Barbara Kingsolver, New York Times Book Review, cover review

“This ambitious novel soars up through the canopy of American literature and remakes the landscape of environmental fiction…[R]emarkable.” —Ron Charles, Washington Post 


An Oprah’s Book Club Selection • An Instant New York Times Bestseller

“Extraordinary…Powers’s insightful, often poetic prose draws us at once more deeply toward the infinitude of the imagination and more vigorously toward the urgencies of the real and familiar stakes rattling our persons and our planet.” ―Tracy K. Smith, New York Times Book Review, cover review

“A heartrending tale of loss…Powers continues to raise bold questions about the state of our world and the cumulative effects of our mistakes.” ―Heller McAlpin, NPR

“Nothing short of transportive…Powers expertly grapples with existential questions, interspersing beatific rays of hope throughout the story like sunbeams.” —Juliana Rose Pignataro, Newsweek

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