The Overstory

The Overstory

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Author: Richard Powers
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Pub Date: 2019-04-02

 


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"An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers-each summoned in different ways by trees-are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. In his twelfth novel, National Book Award winner Richard Powers delivers a sweeping, impassioned novel of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of-and paean to-the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours-vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe. The Overstory is a book for all readers who despair of humanity's self-imposed separation from the rest of creation and who hope for the transformative, regenerating possibility of a homecoming. If the trees of this earth could speak, what would they tell us? Listen. There's something you need to hear." --Provided by publisher. 

Richard Powers is the author of twelve novels. His most recent, The Overstory, won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. He is also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Book Award, and he has been a four-time National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. He lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. 

Author: Richard Powers
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Pub Date: 2019-04-02
ISBN:9780393356687
Pages: 512
Size: 4.57 cms H x 23.11 cms L x 15.75 cms W (0.79 kgs)
Binding: Paperback 

Should be mandatory reading the world over.--Emilia Clarke


A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest.


Powers is the rare American novelist writing in the grand realist tradition, daring to cast himself, in the critic Peter Brooks's term, as a 'historian of contemporary society.' He has the courage and intellectual stamina to explore our most complex social questions with originality, nuance, and an innate skepticism about dogma. At a time when literary convention favors novelists who write narrowly about personal experience, Powers's ambit is refreshingly unfashionable, restoring to the form an authority it has shirked.--Nathaniel Rich


A towering achievement by a major writer.--Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland


The best book I've read in 10 years. It's a remarkable piece of literature, and the moment it speaks to is climate change. So, for me, it's a lodestone. It's a mind-opening fiction, and it connects us all in a very positive way to the things that we have to do if we want to regain our planet.--Emma Thompson


This book is beyond special.... It's a kind of breakthrough in the ways we think about and understand the world around us, at a moment when that is desperately needed.--Bill McKibben


A big, ambitious epic.... Powers juggles the personal dramas of his far-flung cast with vigor and clarity. The human elements of the book--the arcs his characters follow over the decades from crusading passion to muddled regret and a sense of failure--are thoroughly compelling. So are the extra-human elements, thanks to the extraordinary imaginative flights of Powers's prose, which persuades you on the very first page that you're hearing the voices of trees as they chide our species.--Michael Upchurch


This ambitious novel soars up through the canopy of American literature and remakes the landscape of environmental fiction.... Remarkable.--Ron Charles


An ingeniously structured narrative that branches and canopies like the trees at the core of the story whose wonder and connectivity echo those of the humans living amongst them.--citation from the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction

 

Winner of the William Dean Howells Medal
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
Over One Year on the New York Times Bestseller List
New York Times Notable Book and a Washington PostTimeOprah MagazineNewsweekChicago Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year