The Overstory by Richard Powers [8/10]

Richard Powers strides across our literary scene with his own gait, tackling modern-day material with a lyrical yet cerebral immersive style that could be no one else’s. With “The Overstory,” he has at last achieved his due recognition, the Pulitzer Prize being well-deserved for this elegy for the trees of Earth. Told through nine disparate tales of individuals who owe something to trees, or who become affected by trees, or who unite to save trees, The Overstory dives deep again and again. Grand migration tales told over generations interweave with scientific discovery narratives and modern hard luck stories. The bulk of the nine end up as radical protestors willing to cross boundaries in order to save forests. And everywhere throughout the novel are trees, trees, and more trees, beautifully alive and sensate and connected. Trees must survive or we shall not, that’s how I read the message, a message that is never didactic, always rooted in the lives of his absorbing creations. The Overstory is a heady, ideas-rich, yet inventive and sparkling read. Brilliant.

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