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Indie Next Pick

Aspen Words Literary Prize, Longlisted

Crook's Corner Book Prize, Shortlisted

American Booksellers Association "Dazzling Debut"

"Tucker astonishes in her devastating debut, a harrowing account of addiction, friendship, and loss . . . This is a stunning accomplishment."

––Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Raw, powerful, and unflinching … Tucker’s novel champions the strength it takes to stay clean when every other decision is so much simpler."

—Booklist (starred review)

"Tucker’s debut is full of raw honesty and assured, beautiful prose." 

––The Washington Post

"A gritty, raw novel tackling female friendships and

the opioid crisis, Bewilderness packs a punch that belies its size."  


"The kind of  book that crawls under your skin and lodges there … Tucker has written a powerfully intimate, heartbreaking portrait of this country's opioid epidemic" —Refinery 29

"Tinglingly relevant." —Library Journal

"Absorbing and unflinching." —Kirkus Reviews

"Karen Tucker’s Bewilderness is a unicorn of a novel. It has a plot like a roaring freight train and every sentence is a well-polished gem."

—Garden & Gun

"Tucker writes a poignant and heartbreaking novel about opioid addiction, friendship, and desire

filled with memorable and beautifully written passages." —Debutiful

"The characters’ insistence on using drugs as emotional napalm and Tucker’s raw, vulnerable prose demand more than that we see a piece of society often ignored. They demand we feel it.” —Miranda Sanchez, Epilogue Books

"Karen Tucker puts a human face on this ongoing public health catastrophe, as she tells the story of Irene and Luce, pill-addicts and best friends. More than merely evoking the desperation of opioid abuse, Bewilderness provides a funny and touching story of female friendship."

—The Millions, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year

"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, author of Marlena

"This is a heartrending novel about addiction, love, and fragile starts, and it held me captive with its deft pacing and attention to detail. Tucker shows how the world is made up of small, unheralded stories—of great loves and senseless losses—and her novel sets out, and succeeds, to make us feel one of them." —Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

“Karen Tucker has the chaotic truth-telling energy of a sage and a lack of sentimentality that would give Hunter S. Thompson stomach cramps. This is the novel the opiate epidemic needs.”  —Rufi Thorpe, author of The Knockout Queen

"Beautiful, gritty, and piercing, BEWILDERNESS is a whirlwind journey through the highs and lows of friendship, love, and addiction. Luce and Irene are young, vulnerable, and utterly human, and you will root for them on every page despite their betrayals and failures. Karen Tucker fearlessly confronts the hardest question of all—why?— contrasting our brief and shining moments on this earth with the murky and inexplicable border between the here and hereafter. BEWILDERNESS is a tough and tender heartbreak of a read." 

—Erika Carter, writer of Lucky You

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