The Overstory

A Novel

Paperback, 512 pages

English language

Published Jan. 7, 2019 by W. W. Norton & Company.

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4 stars (11 reviews)

The Overstory is a novel by Richard Powers published in 2018 by W. W. Norton & Company. It is Powers' twelfth novel. The book is about nine Americans whose unique life experiences with trees bring them together to address the destruction of forests. Powers was inspired to write the work while teaching at Stanford University, after he encountered giant redwood trees for the first time.The Overstory was a contender for multiple awards. It was shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize on September 20, 2018 and won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction on April 15, 2019, as well as the William Dean Howells Medal in 2020. Reviews of the novel have been mostly positive, with praise of the structure, writing, and compelling reading experience.Patricia Westerford, one of the novel's central characters, was heavily inspired by the life and work of forest ecologist Suzanne Simard. Westerford pens the fictional novel …

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5 stars

This book pulled me into its world of trees and gutted me. I loved the richly drawn human characters and the stories they and the author tell about and learn from trees. I didn’t love the whiteness of the book, but also the relationship Powers describes between people and trees is a particularly white western one—some sense of indigenous stewardship before the end would have made that less irksome. But the book is beautiful and devastating to read, and I can’t stop thinking about trees.

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