Bewilderment, by Richard Powers (Norton). In this follow-up to Powers’s Pulitzer-winning eco-saga “The Overstory,” a recently widowed astrobiologist engaged in assessing the potential for life on other planets must attend to the needs of his nine-year-old son, Robin, who has a spectrum disorder. Since the boy’s mother died, his symptoms have intensified and his empathy for animals sometimes leads to angry outbursts. He undergoes an experimental neurofeedback therapy that can imprint other people’s emotions—including his mother’s—onto him. Before long, the treatment transforms Robin into an almost oracular figure, a social-media activist devoted to protecting the earth against mankind. Powers provides a moving depiction of filial love, as father and son confront a world of “invisible suffering on unimaginable scales.”

Something New Under the Sun, by Alexandra Kleeman (Hogarth). In this novel, set in the near future against a backdrop of California wildfires and drought, an East Coast novelist travels to Los Angeles in order to be on set for the film adaptation of his book. Thanks to the film’s female lead, he gets drawn into investigating a synthetic water substitute, WAT-R, that has become ubiquitous. Meanwhile, back East, his wife and daughter join a cultlike gathering in the woods, where they mourn extinct species and plants. Charting a path through the genres of mystery, Hollywood novel, and dystopian fiction, Kleeman ably balances entertainment with an ambient sense of disaster.

Against White Feminism, by Rafia Zakaria (Norton). Combining personal anecdotes with historical analysis, these essays examine such linked phenomena as the “white savior industrial complex,” “securo-feminism,” and the commodification of sexual liberation. Zakaria calls for a feminism that is not only centered on the experiences of women of color but also, more broadly, seeks to counter “whiteness”—a term that, for her, denotes not merely a phenotypic trait but, more, a nexus of behaviors, systems, and ideologies stemming from “the legacy of empire and slavery.” Her argument spans centuries and continents to demonstrate the ways in which mainstream feminism’s focus on white, Western perspectives has perpetuated, rather than challenged, oppression and exploitation across the globe.

Burning Man, by Frances Wilson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). This biography of D. H. Lawrence dwells on the years between the publication of “The Rainbow,” in 1915, and his diagnosis of advanced tuberculosis, in 1925, during which Lawrence lived in a perpetual state of motion, wandering from Bloomsbury to Sri Lanka and Taos. Wilson portrays a man defined by contradictions: a coal miner’s son and a snob; an intellectual who despised the intellect; a novelist driven to write about sex while also fearing it. Wilson has an infectious enthusiasm for the byways of her subject, lavishing attention on such figures as the arts patron Mabel Dodge Luhan and championing a foreword that Lawrence wrote for a friend’s memoir—“an unclassifiable document virtually unknown”—as the epitome of his genius.

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