The Overstory

The Overstory

By: Richard Powers
Published: 2018
# of pages: 502
Challenge: Alphabet Soup
Quote: “Here’s the thing about an apple: it sticks in the throat. It’s a package deal: lust and understanding. Immortality and death. Sweet pulp with cyanide seeds. It’s a bang on the head that births up whole sciences. A golden delicious discord, the kind of gift chucked into a wedding feast that leads to endless war. It’s the fruit that keeps the gods alive. The first, worst crime, but a fortunate windfall. Blessed be the time that apple taken was.”

The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of – and paean to – the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.


My Goodreads review for this book was simply: “This is such a beautiful book. Words can’t describe how the beauty of both nature and humanity are captured in only 500 pages.”

I don’t think I would have read this book based on the description, but my mother-in-law gave me a copy and so I read it to discuss it with her. I’m glad I did because it was an amazingly written story. There’s a reason it earned a Pulitzer. The characters were fascinating, their stories complex, and I loved how all the storylines came together.


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