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The Overstory
Cover of The Overstory
The Overstory
Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Borrow Borrow

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Overstory by Richard Powers, read by Suzanne Toren.

· · · SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018 · · ·

'Autumn makes me think of leaves, which makes me think of trees, which makes me think of The Overstory, the best novel ever written about trees, and really, just one of the best novels, period.' Ann Patchett

'It's a masterpiece.' - Tim Winton

'It's not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book.' - Margaret Atwood

A monumental novel about trees and people by one of our most 'prodigiously talented' (The New York Times Book Review) novelists.

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:

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.

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.

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Overstory by Richard Powers, read by Suzanne Toren.

· · · SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018 · · ·

'Autumn makes me think of leaves, which makes me think of trees, which makes me think of The Overstory, the best novel ever written about trees, and really, just one of the best novels, period.' Ann Patchett

'It's a masterpiece.' - Tim Winton

'It's not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book.' - Margaret Atwood

A monumental novel about trees and people by one of our most 'prodigiously talented' (The New York Times Book Review) novelists.

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:

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.

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.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Richard Powers (Author)
    Richard Powers is the author of twelve novels, including Orfeo (which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize), The Echo Maker, The Time of Our Singing, Galatea 2.2 and Plowing the Dark. He is the recipient of a MacArthur grant and the National Book Award, and has been a Pulitzer Prize and four-time NBCC finalist. He lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 19, 2018
    Occupying the same thematic terrain as Annie Proulx’s Barkskins, the latest from Powers (Orfeo) is an impassioned but unsatisfying paean to the wonder of trees. Set primarily on the West Coast, the story revolves around nine characters, separated by age and geography, whose “lives have long been connected, deep underground.” Among these are a wheelchair-bound computer game designer; a scientist who uncovers the forest’s hidden communication systems; a psychologist studying the personality types of environmental activists; and a young woman who, after being electrocuted, hears voices urging her to save old-growth forests from logging. All are seduced by the majesty of trees and express their arboreal love in different ways: through scholarship, activism, art, and even violent resistance. Some of the prose soars, as when a redwood trunk shoots upward in a “russet, leathery apotheosis,” while some lands with a thud: “We’re cashing in a billion years of planetary savings bonds and blowing it on assorted bling.” Powers’s best works are thrilling accounts of characters blossoming as they pursue their intellectual passions; here, few of the earnest figures come alive on the page. While it teems with people, information, and ideas, the novel feels curiously barren.

  • AudioFile Magazine Richard Powers's ambitious new novel tests the limits of audiobook narration in its breadth and complexity, number of characters and storylines it embraces, and sweeping conception of the bond between humanity and nature. Suzanne Toren's performance is expressive and well paced, and she is especially effective when delivering Powers's more lyrical passages. However, as the four featured characters fight to preserve a virgin forest, Toren's character voices are uneven--sometimes a marvelous expression of situation and state of mind, other times a regrettable mimicry of gender or ethnicity. So powerful are Powers's interlocking stories that the listener is simply carried along. This is a novel that many will embrace. D.A.W. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
  • Daily Telegraph "[The Overstory is] the best book I've read in ten 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. We've got lots and lots of trees where we live in Scotland. If I'm feeling unwell or unsettled in any way, I always go and sit with a tree or walk through the trees, and that's incredibly healing and helpful"
  • Sunday Times "An extraordinary novel ... It's an astonishing performance ...He's incredibly good at describing trees, at turning the science into poetry ...The book is full of ideas ... Like Moby-Dick, The Overstory leaves you with a slightly adjusted frame of reference ... Some of what was happening to his characters passed into my conscience, like alcohol into the bloodstream, and left a feeling behind of grief or guilt, even after I put it down. Which is one test of the quality of a novel."
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Overstory
The Overstory
Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Richard Powers
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