The Overstory

The Overstory

A Novel

Book - 2018
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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.
Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton & Company, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393635522
Branch Call Number: FIC POWERS, RICHARD
Characteristics: 502 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Over story


From the critics

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Oct 19, 2020

Very informative and nicely written but The Legacy of Luna by Julia “Butterfly” Hill is a superior first person account on the topic.

Oct 09, 2020

This book is so innovative... which kept me going in the slower parts. I'm so glad I did keep going - the ending was fantastic.

Sep 27, 2020


Aug 30, 2020

I loved the back stories of the soon to be interwoven characters. At first I was worried that I'd picked up a volume of short stories, but soon some met to propel the plot forward, and others provided philosophical and scientific support to the plot. All were heartfelt. All provided nuggets of wisdom and reasons why we have to value our trees in other than dollar value, in a most entertaining way.

Aug 29, 2020

Really wanted to love this book, because I have grown to appreciate every part of nature and each move mankind makes to eliminate, devour, use up our natural resources is painful. So I hoped this would help remove some sadness about deforestation. The first eight stories were terrific, but then.... couldn’t keep the characters straight and they became more and more superficial. I could no longer relate to them. I forced myself to continue, but abandoned it after 350 pages. Very disappointed.

Aug 15, 2020

I could not get into this book. I quit!

Jul 16, 2020

Too hyper, too promotional, too superior, too trite; and too long; USA-centric.

Jun 24, 2020

I am really enjoying this book. The characters are alive as well as the trees.

Reading this during Shelter-in-place and a pandemic has made me slow down and appreciate what I have. This book has allowed me to enjoy the wonders of nature, and look a little deeper.

May 20, 2020

This was my favourite book from 2019, by far. I still look at trees in a different way after reading this.

CALS_Lee Apr 29, 2020

This book got me into trees, which goes to show you the wondrous things that books can do. The Overstory seems to ask the reader to accept that trees have consciousness and can even make moral choices, and while I fully submit to the idea that life and reality are far, far more mysterious and wondrous than humans can yet understand, I have rather strong doubts about this particular claim. But still. Still. This novel shows us something big and true that most of us do not tend to see and that isn’t all that bad a description of great literature, it seems to me.

Powers starts the novel out so brilliantly with a series of character sketches linking his human creations to the natural world in ways seen and unseen, sending me off on Google searches to learn more about chestnuts and banyans and mulberries and elms, and I was fascinated.

I then feared for a stretch of the second half of this doorstop novel that he was descending into heavy handedness and mind closing didacticism. Brutal men in police uniforms operating in the service of corporations and state power may be a real life thing but it can make for an eye rolling scene in literature. And it seemed he was heading for a grand finish of nihilistic doomsday-ism. But no, he branches off away from that future, sends out a bud of new life, that left me rising out of my chair in gratitude for this mighty work.

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Aug 09, 2019

Page 84 of the hardback: “...the greatest flaw of the species is its overwhelming tendency to mistake agreement for truth.”

Aug 09, 2019

Page 7 of the hardback: “Life is a battle between the Maker and His creation.”


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