The Overstory (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The book begins with a section called Roots containing eight chapters, each devoted to an individual’s or couple’s backstory from 1950s-70s. In the next section, called Trunk, Powers picks up where the individual stories ended and starts weaving them together with a common thread: trees. Powers imparts a great deal of genuinely astonishing and fascinating history and science of trees and forests, seemingly effortlessly providing the reader with a completely new understanding of these usually ignored living beauties (with whom we share 25% of our genes) and their place in the earth’s biome. Sections called Crown and Seed bring us to the current and future state of trees, and humans, on earth. Overstory is both an exciting tale with compelling and moving narratives about people the reader comes to care deeply about and an education about trees as (or more) engaging and informative as the award winning book Hidden Life of Trees. I absolutely love Overstory.

— Kay Wosewick

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.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393635522
ISBN-10: 039363552X
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018
Pages: 512
Language: English