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Irene, a lonely nineteen-year-old in rural North Carolina, works long nights at the local pool hall, serving pitchers and dodging drunks. One evening, her magnetic coworker Luce invites her on a joy ride through the mountains to take revenge on an abusive customer. Their adventure not only spells the beginning of a dazzling friendship, it seduces both girls into the mysterious world of pills and the endless hustles needed to fund the next high.
Together, Irene and Luce run nickel-tossing scams at the county fair and trick dealers into trading legit pharms for birth-control pills. Everything is wild and wonderful until Luce finds a boyfriend who wants to help her get clean. Soon the two of them decide to move away and start a new, sober life in Florida––leaving Irene behind.
Told in a riveting dialogue between the girls’ addicted past and their hopes for a better future, Bewilderness is not just a brilliant, funny, heartbreaking novel about opioid abuse, it's also a moving look at how intense, intimate friendships can shape every young woman’s life.
About the author:
BEWILDERNESS is Karen Tucker's first novel. Her short fiction appears in The Missouri Review, The Yale Review Online, Boulevard, EPOCH, Tin House Online, American Literary Review, Salamander, Carve Magazine, and elsewhere. Born and raised in North Carolina, her awards include an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant for Emerging Writers, a PEO Scholar Award, the George M. Harper Award for Creative Writing, the Jerome Stern Series Spotlight Award in fiction, and a scholarship to Longleaf Writers Conference. She earned her PhD in Creative Writing at Florida State University and currently teaches fiction writing at UNC Chapel Hill.