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The Overstory: A Novel

The Overstory: A Novel
 

A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest.

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Quick Reference

ISBN 9780393356687
Barcode 9780393356687
Published 9 April 2019 by WW Norton & Co
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Alternate Format(s) View All (1 other possible title(s) available)
Author(s) By Powers, Richard
Availability Internationally sourced; ships 6-12 working days

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780393356687
ISBN-10 039335668X
Stock Available
Status Internationally sourced; ships 6-12 working days
Publisher WW Norton & Co
Imprint WW Norton & Co
Publication Date 9 April 2019
International Publication Date 2 April 2019
Publication Country United States United States
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Author(s) By Powers, Richard
Category Modern Fiction
Number of Pages 512
Dimensions Width: 140mm
Height: 208mm
Spine: 30mm
Weight 560g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
NBS Text General & Literary Fiction
ONIX Text General/trade
Dewey Code 813.54
Catalogue Code 952353

Description of this Book

An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers-each summoned in different ways by trees-are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. In his twelfth novel, National Book Award winner Richard Powers delivers a sweeping, impassioned novel 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, The Overstory 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, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. 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. The Overstory is a book for all readers who despair of humanity's self-imposed separation from the rest of creation and who hope for the transformative, regenerating possibility of a homecoming. If the trees of this earth could speak, what would they tell us? Listen. There's something you need to hear.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review This book is beyond special. Richard Powers manages to turn trees into vivid and engaging characters, something that indigenous people have done for eons but that modern literature has rarely if ever even attempted. It's not just a completely absorbing, even overwhelming book; 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 Remarkable....This ambitious novel soars up through the canopy of American literature and remakes the landscape of environmental fiction.--Ron Charles 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 A rousing, full-throated hymn to Nature's grandeur.--Dan Cryer Richard Powers's 12th novel is a rare specimen: a Great American Eco-Novel. 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

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Author's Bio

Richard Powers is the author of twelve novels, most recently The Overstory. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Book Award, and he has been a Pulitzer Prize and four-time National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. He lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

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