The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work 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, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel 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. 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.
“Should be mandatory reading the world over.” — Emilia Clarke “The best book I’ve read in 10 years. It’s a remarkable piece of literature, and the moment it speaks to is climate change. So, for me, it’s a lodestone. It’s a mind-opening fiction, and it connects us all in a very positive way to the things that we have to do if we want to regain our planet.” — Emma Thompson “An ingeniously structured narrative that branches and canopies like the trees at the core of the story whose wonder and connectivity echo those of the humans living amongst them.” — citation from the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction “This book is beyond special…. It’s a kind of breakthrough in the ways we think about and understand the world around us, at a moment when that is desperately needed.” — Bill McKibben “The best novels change the way you see. Richard Powers’s The Overstory does this. Haunting.” — Geraldine Brooks “A towering achievement by a major writer.” — Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland “This ambitious novel soars up through the canopy of American literature and remakes the landscape of environmental fiction…. Remarkable.” — Ron Charles – The Washington Post “Powers is the rare American novelist writing in the grand realist tradition, daring to cast himself, in the critic Peter Brooks’s term, as a ‘historian of contemporary society.’ He has the courage and intellectual stamina to explore our most complex social questions with originality, nuance, and an innate skepticism about dogma. At a time when literary convention favors novelists who write narrowly about personal experience, Powers’s ambit is refreshingly unfashionable, restoring to the form an authority it has shirked.” — Nathaniel Rich – The Atlantic “Monumental… The Overstory accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of the story, he pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size…. A gigantic fable of genuine truths.” — Barbara Kingsolver – The New York Times Book Review “A big, ambitious epic…. Powers juggles the personal dramas of his far-flung cast with vigor and clarity. The human elements of the book-the arcs his characters follow over the decades from crusading passion to muddled regret and a sense of failure-are thoroughly compelling. So are the extra-human elements, thanks to the extraordinary imaginative flights of Powers’s prose, which persuades you on the very first page that you’re hearing the voices of trees as they chide our species.” — Michael Upchurch – The Boston Globe
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?