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This novel begins with stories of people living out their lives, full of joys and tragedies and dramas, and each affected in some way by a tree (yes, a tree). As the lives of its characters begin to intertwine in unexpected ways, The Overstory spirals outward in scope until it becomes about the trees themselves, their long lifetimes overarching the human ones. Humanity would be only a blip in the tree world if not for the devastating effects of modern attitudes towards nature, something that each of the characters must grapple with in some way. I loved the complexity and urgency of this novel as an exploration of how individual human lives fit into the larger natural world (if only we thought of ourselves this way), and how we all are responsible for what’s being done to it. And no small thing, The Overstory contains some of the most beautiful sentences that I’ve read in awhile. Best read arborside, of course.
— From Kelsey's Picks
“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