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The Overstory (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I began reading The Overstory at a retreat for writers and artists in the North Carolina mountains, surrounded by trees showing off their fall foliage. The week seemed to be all about trees: tree poems and stories by the writers, pottery imprinted with leaves, tree paintings, and even a beautiful tree necklace created by one of the jewelsmiths. This morning when I turned the final page, the bare trees were silhouetted against a cold gray sky. The understory, or the growth and secret life of trees, is at the heart of this novel. The overstory refers to the characters, who defended and cared for trees at the risk of their personal safety. Tree huggers and a scientist, a couple whose days were spent identifying trees--all understood the importance and contributions of the woodlands and forests. Our natural world is more threatened than ever, and knowledge and inspiration are crucial to our survival. This novel provides both.

— Mamie

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