ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | Bewilderment by Michael Onofrey

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After three decades of an over-extended youth abroad, fifty-six-year-old Wade Ricky returns home to the Los Angeles suburbs to care for his dying mother and come to terms with his memories of an awkwardly sensual affair with Herta, a German woman he meets while biking across India; a two-year stint in Peshawar as an assistant to a blind British expat; and a cheerfully surreal world of drugs and sexual voyeurism in which Wade is continually a complicit outsider. As months turn into years, Wade finds companionship with a landscape painter grieving for her son killed in Iraq and slowly rebuilds his life in America–even as he begins to understand, finally, why he must be alone.

In pared-down, richly evocative prose that captures the hidden complexities of social and geopolitical relations, Michael Onofrey’s debut novel is a loving, even joyful meditation about the transience of human connection and the experience of solitude.


What People Are Saying about Bewilderment

"Michael Onofrey explores the geographies of both land and mind in his new novel Bewilderment. The protagonist is propelled by a visceral mixture of curiosity and confusion that, ultimately, forces him to confront his longing to connect. Bewilderment is an accomplished and witty novel that examines the line drawn between individual perception and the larger reality, then provides its reader permission to blur the line in order to take it all in.”
– Jen Knox, author of After the Gazebo

“Michael Onofrey has crafted a daring and adventurous story about life's choices, those we make and those made for us. Whatever the case, we all at some point face a moment of bewilderment, a moment when time stops and the events of our life dissolve and slip away like paint on a canvas left in the rain. An engaging story…and a remarkable experience of bewilderment.”
– Christine Cote, Still Point Art Gallery and Shanti Arts Publishing

Bewilderment was written by a natural storyteller and Wade Ricky is his voice.
As a character Wade Ricky is developed gradually, you like him from the beginning without quite knowing why but as this story unfolds you are drawn into whatever it is that Wade is experiencing. From the pacing of how Wade talks, often in short concise sentences, to the clarity of his observations about traveling or the nature of just how adventure itself comes to be recognized, or his almost Zen-like acceptance of whatever situation he finds himself, the reader is drawn deeper into Wades journey. This reader felt as though he was there with Wade in his travels, during his encounters with interesting characters and his romantic relationships, and as a witness to the emotions of his life and the pain of personal loss. Wade Ricky is reserved but always observant of his surroundings and his eye for the usually unnoticed details are scattered throughout this novel like a descriptive texture and are a joy for the reader. Wade Ricky is a protagonist with depth and the writer exposes this in layers. I thoroughly enjoyed this first novel by Michael Onofrey and look forward to reading more from him in the future.
-Bill Schultz, from Amazon.com listing for Bewilderment

Publisher’s Information

<li><b>PUBLISHER:</b> Tailwinds Press</li>
<li><b>ISBN:</b> ISBN-13: 0997574203</li>
<li><b>DIMENSIONS:</b> 5x.08x8 inches</li>
<li><b>PAGES:</b> 325]</li>
<li><b>PRICE:</b> $13.94</li>
<li><b>RELEASE DATE:</b> 04/17/2017</li>
<li><b><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Bewilderment-Michael-Onofrey/dp/0997574208/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8" target="blank">PURCHASE HERE</a></b></li>


Recommended Works by Michael Onofrey

Favorite Eckleburg Work: https://eckleburg.org/eckleburg-book-club/

Luck – Stories by Ed Meek

A young bartender in the North End finds himself complicit in the breakdown of his housemate’s relationship with his girlfriend; a married, middle-aged professor of composition abjectly crumbles under the stress of his affair with a beautiful student. In his debut fiction collection, poet Ed Meek vividly reimagines a gritty, freewheeling 1970s Boston whose cynical, impulsive inhabitants–torn between the longing for human connection and the fear of domesticity–negotiate the blurry boundaries of personal responsibility. With these deceptively mundane accounts of ordinary lives in transition, Meek paints a humane, subtle portrait of ordinary people grasping at explanations for the things they do. READ MORE

Most Perfect Things About People by Mark Jordan Manner

In the mundane desperation of early-1990s southern Ontario, ten-year-old Soccer Beally kills his neighbor with a brick and vanishes without a trace. Over the following decades, his five enigmatic brothers and sisters–stoic, tormented and strangely resilient–scatter across Toronto and its bleak satellite towns as they struggle to reconcile the brutality of everyday life with their fragmented experiences of unbearable and surreal beauty.

​With twenty-three intricately interwoven stories that piece together the complex ties binding the past to the present, Mark Jordan Manner’s debut novel is a searingly honest, uniquely Canadian meditation on identity, memory, and the nature of violence. READ MORE

Discussion Questions for Bewilderment

  1. How do the women Wade Rick meets and has a relationship with, Herta and Evelyn, affect him?

  2. How do memories play a part in this novel?

  3. What do you think of the novel's structure and narration?

About Michael Onofrey


MICHAEL ONOFREY was born and raised in Los Angeles. Currently he lives in Japan. Over seventy of his short stories have been published in literary journals and magazines, in print and online, in such places as Cottonwood, The Evansville Review, Natural Bridge, Snowy Egret, Terrain.org, Weber–The Contemporary West, and The William and Mary Review. Among anthologized work, his stories have appeared in Creativity & Constraint (Wising Up Press, 2014), In New Light (Northern Initiative for Social Action, 2013), Road to Nowhere and Other New Stories from the Southwest (University of New Mexico Press, 2013), and Imagination & Place: An Anthology (Imagination & Place Press, 2009). He can be found online at Directory of Writers, Poets and Writers, and on Facebook.



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After three decades of an over-extended youth abroad, fifty-six-year-old Wade Ricky returns home to the Los Angeles suburbs to care for his dying mother and come to terms with his memories of an awkwardly sensual affair with Herta, a German woman he meets while biking across India; a two-year stint in Peshawar as an assistant to a blind British expat; and a cheerfully surreal world of drugs and sexual voyeurism in which Wade is continually a complicit outsider. As months turn into years, Wade finds companionship with a landscape painter grieving for her son killed in Iraq and slowly rebuilds his life in America–even as he begins to understand, finally, why he must be alone.

In pared-down, richly evocative prose that captures the hidden complexities of social and geopolitical relations, Michael Onofrey’s debut novel is a loving, even joyful meditation about the transience of human connection and the experience of solitude.

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The Editors

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