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The Overstory (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

On the surface, this is the story of nine people who in completely different ways come to understand that we are intricately connected to the natural world, to trees in particular, but that is like saying King Lear is about a father/daughter relationship. It is about families whose legacies shape their descendants in wholly unintended ways and about the conversations we hold with beings our souls recognize as sentient though reason and society claim otherwise. It is about the desperate delusions of cultural suicide and the hope that there will be survivors. There are passages in this book you will want to reread for the depth of wisdom, some for the beauty of the language, and some for the utter tragedy of our tale. Few books monumentally shift the plates upon which our world view sits, so that upon their conclusion, we find ourselves staring at objects and people we have looked at every day through a completely different lens. What kind of bookseller would I be if I didn't make sure all of you read this?

— From Linda's Adult Picks

April 2018 Indie Next List

“The Overstory, which contains an energy like that of the trees that link its intertwining stories, is nothing short of stunning. Such links between the human and non-human are mostly hidden to us, but only because we tend not to look very closely (or prefer not to see). Powers' most beautiful sentences are also the most devastating, which hints at the novel's hope that death - whether of a person or a plant - is never quite the end that it seems. Until, that is, we look, or prefer, finally, to see. As we are instructed near the novel's end, 'What you make from a tree should be at least as miraculous as what you cut down.' Plainly put: The Overstory is perhaps as close to such a miracle as we currently deserve.”
— Brad Johnson, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, CA

Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List

“I can’t stop thinking about this book! A sprawling, literary eco-epic, The Overstory is the kind of novel that changes people. It’s a riveting call to arms and a bitter indictment of our wasteful culture. More than that, it’s an incredibly human story with a huge cast of richly imagined characters that you’ll never forget. With writing that is dense but accessible, Powers is a master at intersecting science, art, and spirituality without sacrificing plot. I pity the next customer who comes into our store looking for ‘a book about trees’ because Powers has given me a lot to talk about.”
— Logan Farmer, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO


Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post, Time, Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018

"The best novel ever written about trees, and really just one of the best novels, period." --Ann Patchett.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393356687
ISBN-10: 039335668X
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Pages: 512
Language: English