Keanu brought me here.
This book won the Pulitzer Prize and it was well deserved. It's not an easy read and it won't appeal to everyone, but I loved it. So different.
I devoured all 552 pages on a short vacation and cannot think of a more timely message than the one this book sends us about our planet, our lives and our values. The stories that weave into a central theme are well chosen and developed although I liked some more than others.
Richard Powers managed to enhance my perception of nature and I'm grateful for that.
An impressive read, timely and important subject, creatively crafted. Highly recommended.
I found this book to be an impressive feat of writing, but one that completely failed to connect with me on the emotional level I was expecting, considering its subject matter. Five stars for the writing, two stars for my personal enjoyment of it, plus a few bonus points for its timeliness.
I'm surprised that I hadn't more about this book, it's really an impressive feat, and both literary and compelling. I didn't know what I was in for, but in a nutshell, there are a handful of characters whose lives are affected in some manner or other by trees. Eventually their stories converge and branch. Along the way, the author shares lots of cool facts about trees and forests (not unlike The Hidden Life of Trees, except of course that this is fiction!). As a few of the characters join protests to protect forests, conflicts arise, many of which seem to be based on real life events. This book raises questions about environmentalism, activism, sentience, ecoterrorism, etc. etc.
Be forewarned that this book is massive! In that respect and its subject matter, I'd liken it to Annie Proulx's The Barkskins. Yet, I think many people would find it worth their while, as it's thought-provoking and entertaining both. The audio is well-read, though I think I would have liked the print version as well.
Partly my fault that I don't like this--I thought it was a novel It isn't. It is 503 pages of overwritten short stories. The stories are all the same: some people are good; some people are bad, and all people make mistakes, but all trees are good, and good trees don't make mistakes. Good book if you belong to the English Major White Male Novelist is King Club and worship James Joyce, Herman Melville, and Henry James; otherwise, it is a bit tedious.
Trees and people who have their lives touched in incredible ways by them fill these remarkable stories. Epic in scope but so, so beguiling in the telling.
What starts as individual stories, fascinating in their own right, interconnects by the book’s end. Just a few parts slowed down for me. Every reader will have favorite characters and storylines that resonate. I read the author’s earlier 'The Echo Maker' in 2005 because a friend recommended how the author blends science in his storytelling art. This book does the same. Such a talented writer.
Eh, it's ok, but nothing to cry about. The reviews I read of it (NYT, for one) were positively rhapsodic, saying it had a plot structure as complex and rich as the root structure of a forest of trees and... no. There is a huge amount of exposition of about trees, which is interesting for a little while but gets old fast.
Biologists use a tree structure to show the evolutionary relationship among all species on Earth, a tree of life. In The Overstory, trees are both a metaphor for life and essential to life, breathing for the planet, part of a connected organism of plants, animals, soil, water, air. We follow nine individuals across decades and the deforestation of America. Each is called to act in some way to halt the devastation; destroying the forests means the destruction of life on Earth. The book is beautifully written and inspirational, incorporating the latest science about tree behaviour and communication. Hopefully it will motivate people to change or demand change. On the downside, the book goes on a bit too long. It also neglects the wisdom and knowledge of First Nations, and only briefly includes them near the end, a very odd choice by an author who seems so well-informed and sympathetic to the natural world.
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