National Book Award Finalist
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Overstory and the forthcoming Bewilderment, an exquisitely rendered novel set in the pediatrics ward of a public hospital that examines the power, joy, and anguish of storytelling.
“If you have children or will have children, if you know children or can remember being a child, dare to read Operation Wandering Soul. . . [it] is bedtime reading for the future.” —USA Today
In the pediatrics ward of a public hospital in the heart of Los Angeles, a group of sick children is gathering. Surrogate parents to this band of stray kids, resident Richard Kraft and therapist Linda Espera are charged with keeping the group alive on make-believe alone. Determined to give hope where there is none, the adults spin a desperate anthology of stories that promise restoration and escape. But the inevitable is foreshadowed in the faces they’ve grown to love, and ultimately Richard and Linda must return to forgotten chapters in their own lives in order to make sense of the conclusion drawing near.
"Powers's prose soars like the most magnificent of choirs, memorably capturing the moments of joy and anguish, barrenness and grace, that add up to life." — Washington Post Book World
"If you have children or will have children, if you know children or can remember being a child, dare to read Operation Wandering Soul...Dense in knowledge, rich in imagination, powerful in expression, [it] is bedtime reading for the future. Like the stories read to children, this intensely caring novel can help prevent the nightmare it describes, children out too late at night, far from home, lost, the wandering souls of the future, our future." — USA Today