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Bewilderness (Digital Audiobook)

By Karen Tucker, Brittany Pressley (Narrator)

Publication Date: May 31, 2021

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (6/28/2022)
Hardcover (6/1/2021)

June 2021 Indie Next List

“A vivid, visceral story of best friendship and opioid addiction, so authentic and riveting that I couldn’t read it quickly enough. Karen Tucker’s western North Carolina feels exactly right, and Irene and Luce’s friendship is as moving as it is doomed. An impressive debut.”
— Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC
View the List


Set in rural, poverty-stricken North Carolina, this “beautiful, gritty, and piercing” novel follows two young women—best friends—as they “journey through the highs and lows of friendship, love, and addiction,” perfect for readers of Julie Buntin’s Marlena (Erika Carter, author of Lucky You).

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 hilarious, magnetic coworker Luce invites her on a joy ride through the mountains to take revenge on a particularly creepy 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

Karen Tucker was born and raised in North Carolina. Her fiction has appeared in The Missouri ReviewThe Yale Review OnlineTin HouseBoulevardEpoch, and elsewhere. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her partner and multiple cats.