“The Overstory” by Richard Powers

BOOK

8.13.16

Richard Powers’ The Overstory is a big long read, as massive as the redwoods that he chronicles so lovingly. It’s easy to put aside, which I did for about 9 months after it won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. But, over Christmas – on a few long plane rides – I was caught up it’s lofty goals and, even if the story takes a bit too long to wind out, I recommend it this month for those who want to learn more about the myriad species of trees on the planet, and the mysteries of how they communicate. Powers begins with beautiful portraits of his main characters (and the trees they knew in their life) and ramps ups to a page-turning environmental justice tale, with heavy doses of biology and history. It’s unusual, but memorable.

Here is a great article about Powers and his process. And here is Barbara Kingsolver’s rapturous review from the NYTimes that kicked off the frenzy around this title.