The Overstory: A Novel

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It may seem simplistic to say that The Overstory is about trees, yet they form the heart of Richard Powers’ epic novel of four environmental activists attempting to resist ecological greed and destruction in the Pacific Northwest as they discover just how important the world’s forests are to human survival. Spanning decades of American history, The Overstory is not only a fascinating look at the abilities of trees and forests but also a compelling philosophical exploration of who gets to decide what is best for the world and its future.

Environmentally-inclined readers will love Powers’ rich descriptions of the trees and their habitats, but as an infrequent reader of eco-fiction, I was struck by how, like disparate branches that come together to form one mighty tree, Powers’ non-linear narrative and multiple perspectives ultimately intersect and resolve. The first several chapters serve as introductions to the central characters and are spellbinding, memorable portrayals of the American experience. While Powers’ message of the consequences of environmental destruction is captivating in its own right, his skill as a writer is powerfully demonstrated as he spins a tale of the many ways that, for better or worse, people change the world.


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Author Richard Powers
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 512 pages
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date 2018-Apr-03
ISBN 9780393635522
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2018
Category Modern Literature
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