Monday 17 June 2019

Powers, Richard "The Overstory"

Powers, Richard "The Overstory" - 2018

After a bad choice last year ("Less" by Andrew Sean Greer), the Pulitzer Prize committee has redeemed themselves.

And what a book this was! Richard Powers put so much into this novel about environmentalists, you get to know every single character pretty well and can follow their reasons for their protests. I would have understood them anyway but I think also those people who usually don't care much about the environment or the fight about it, will understand why some people fight for it, even if they have to take up illegal measures.

We meet many different kind of people, successful scientists as well as those who can't find their place in society. We get to see their wishes and hopes, their aims and their aspirations.

This book makes you think, think about the trees and what becomes of them, think about the people who live with theses trees, think of those who destroy them. We have to think about the future of our planet and that includes taking care of animals, plants and trees, we cannot let them disappear, that would be the end of all of us.

A very passionate story.

My favourite quote:
"… when you cut down a tree, what you make from it should be at least as miraculous as what you cut down."

I have never read a book by Richard Powers before but I think I will go and read more of his novels. A very interesting author.

The story reminds me of books by Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favourite American authors.

From the back cover:

"An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers - each summoned in different ways by trees - are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.

In his twelfth novel, National Book Award winner Richard Powers delivers a sweeping, impassioned novel 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,
The Overstory 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, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. 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.

The Overstory is a book for all readers who despair of humanity’s self-imposed separation from the rest of creation and who hope for the transformative, regenerating possibility of a homecoming. If the trees of this earth could speak, what would they tell us? 'Listen. There’s something you need to hear.'"

Richard Powers received the Pulitzer Prize for "The Overstory" in 2019.


  1. Yay! I was sure you would like it and I am so glad you did!!

  2. I read this recently too and loved it. The nine main characters are fascinating - I thoroughly enjoyed all their stories. Glad you enjoyed it too :-)

    1. Thanks, Brona. It's just the kind of literature I'm interested in, a book that teaches us something but is also highly entertaining. Certainly not my last book by this author.

      Thanks for visiting my blog, always lovely to hear from you.

  3. Going to wait until I'm in the right mood for this one. Cheers

    1. I'm sure you'll get there one day!

      Happy reading!