The Overstory

The Overstory

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 sc An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherit...

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Title:The Overstory
Author:Richard Powers
Rating:
Genres:Fiction
ISBN:The Overstory
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:502 pages pages

The Overstory Reviews

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Aug 09, 2018
    This amazing book connects specific trees to people or families and then the stories come together and morph into being about the environment, how trees relate to each other, and this underlying theme of personal and natural histories that always play out. Decisions have long-reaching ...
  • Cheri
    Aug 18, 2018
    4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars ?We lived on a street where the tall elm shade Was as green as the grass and as cool as a blade That you held in your teeth as we lay on our backs Staring up at the blue and the blue stared back ?I used to believe we were just like those trees We'd ...
  • Blair
    Sep 17, 2017
    The Overstory is the second Richard Powers book I have read ? after Plowing the Dark ? and although I liked this a lot more, I find it equally difficult to talk about. Perhaps it's simply the scope of it: the cast of characters alone is vast, and if I start trying to write a summ...
  • Ron Charles
    Apr 03, 2018
    Richard Powers?s ?The Overstory? soars up through the canopy of American literature and remakes the landscape of environmental fiction. Long celebrated for his compelling, cerebral books, Powers demonstrates a remarkable ability to tell dramatic, emotionally involving stories ...
  • Peter Boyle
    Jul 22, 2018
    I reckon everyone has a tree story. Here's mine. When I was a boy, our family planted a wood of sitka spruce and lodgepole pine on a stretch of wasteland that surrounded our farm. The government provided a grant to pay for this, and the annual subsidies that the forest generated helped...
  • Canadian
    Aug 20, 2018
    The Overstory is a big, ambitious, urgent, impassioned, and fact-filled novel. By turns, fascinating, stimulating, frustrating, and fatiguing, the novel?s central premise is that humans aren?t the stars of the show they think they are. They are only one part (and a blind, brutal,...
  • Dianne
    Aug 25, 2018
    2019 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction! A very erudite and weighty saga that took me over a week to read. It?s excellent, but at the same time, I really wanted it to be over so I could move on to another book. This is a novel where full attention must be paid. Still, the truth...
  • Paul Fulcher
    Feb 10, 2018
    Now shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker. The Overstory is the first Richard Powers novel I have read but he, and indeed this book, comes highly recommended (not least by my good Goodreads friend Neil) and this was certainly a striking if flawed read. The first part of the novel ...
  • Rachel
    Oct 04, 2018
    The Overstory is undeniably brilliant, but it's also hard work, and I'm not convinced the payoff was worth the effort. I wanted to be able to say that I was so struck by Powers' genius that I was able to forgive the periods of abject tedium that characterized my reading experience, but...
  • Michael
    Sep 30, 2018
    A wonderful tour of how human lives can intersect and become engaged with that of trees. The complex narrative of nine separate characters who grow alone, have different kind of formative influences from events involving trees, and then converge in mind or action by the middle of the b...
  • Spencer Orey
    Jun 07, 2018
    Brilliant, slow, and meditative. It made me evaluate my ideas about sustainability, wood, and trees and how I can be a better person in the world. None of the characters really stuck with me, but the presentation of different species of trees (and individual trees situated in places an...
  • Trudie
    Aug 15, 2018
    Another hour. Deserts of infinite boredom punctuated by peaks of freakish intensity Powers doing my review writing for me. My reading experience of The Overstory often felt like a forced march of The Appalachian Trail while being read poetry. In all likelihood that might appea...
  • David Yoon
    Jan 09, 2019
    I shouldn't like this book. it's an extensive brain dump of information about forest intelligence, how trees in fact communicate with each other to warn of impending threats. How a vast underground network connect trees across thousands of kilometres creating a plant neurobiology. We h...
  • Betsy Robinson
    Jul 21, 2018
    Immediately after inhaling the first two pages of this book, I screamed, "Thank you!" To whom, I'm not sure. Then throughout the book, I re-erupted with it, sometimes to Richard Powers, sometimes to whatever force allowed me to understand what came through Powers, through the page, thr...
  • Melki
    Aug 03, 2018
    "Thank you for the tools. The chests. The decking. The clothes closets. The paneling. I forget . . . Thank you," she says, following the ancient formula. "For all the gifts that you have given." And still not knowing how to stop, she adds, "We're sorry. We didn't know how hard it i...
  • Marchpane
    Aug 14, 2018
    The Overstory is a thought-provoking and dense novel that seems longer than its 500-ish pages. While I found it slow to start with, it?s a book that rewards patience. Nine characters are introduced in what appear to be unconnected but thematically linked short stories. It?s a le...
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    Nov 08, 2018
    2019 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction! This dense, literary book will make you think. ? when you cut down a tree, what you make from it should be at least as miraculous as what you cut down. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: The Overstory is a powerful, lit...
  • Paula Kalin
    Oct 25, 2018
    Shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2018, The Overstory is a brilliant and passionate book about humans and their relationship to trees and the natural environment. The first half of the book is exceptional. Written like short stories, 9 characters are introduced separately with their...
  • Logan Farmer
    Jan 09, 2018
    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 this, it's an incredibly human story with a huge cast of rich characters...
  • Helene Jeppesen
    Sep 15, 2018
    This book was many things at the same time. It was bewildering, yet intriguing. Right from the beginning, I was intrigued with the subject matter of trees and the characters we are introduced to - the events they go through are fascinating! But I was also bewildered at the writing styl...
  • Matthew Quann
    Nov 12, 2018
    Whoa! Congrats to Richard Powers for his 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction win! In the opening chapter of Richard Powers' The Overstory, the author spans the four or five generations of men who photographed a single Chestnut, over a century, in a mere twenty pages. Despite that th...
  • David Joy
    Jun 12, 2018
    Trying to explain Richard Powers' Overstory a few weeks back I told someone that it was as if Wendell Berry had written a work of magical realism. I don't know if that's exactly right or not now, but I know that this novel is something different than anything else I've ever read. When ...
  • Hugh
    Jul 24, 2018
    Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018 Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2019 This is the most ambitious and complex book on the Booker longlist, and two thirds of the way through it, I was pretty sure it was heading for five stars and being one of the best books I have r...
  • Neil
    Jan 22, 2018
    Further Update. I can't help it: Powers' writing does something to me. I've now finished a re-read of this book and I am going back to 5 stars. It's a book that really rewards a second reading. It is much darker than I remember from first read (suicide, disillusionment, betrayal on top...
  • Gumble's Yard
    Aug 09, 2018
    As per the end of my review, the book has now deservedly won a medal but for lots of reasons (not least that the Booker really does not need another American based male author winning it) I hope it does not win the gold. This book begins by giving the stories of a disparate group o...
  • Paromjit
    Apr 15, 2019
    This has won the Pulitzer Prize!! Richard Powers writes with ambition, passion and reverence on the world of trees, their ancient intelligence and their central place in the fragile ecosystem. This is a dense and epic work of environmental fiction, a picture of the state of our pl...
  • Hannah Greendale
    Jul 28, 2018
    Powers? structural approach to The Overstory breaks with traditional plotting. The result is two books in one, each designed to appeal to a different type of reader. The flaw in this approach is that the book either reads like a literary triumph that starts slow then builds to someth...
  • Beata
    Jan 01, 2019
    Having bought this book months ago, I started wondering if I spent my money well. Although I enjoy making my own mind regarding my reading choices, I couldn?t escape coming across many reviews, both positive and negative, as a result, I was a little apprehensive ? When I began read...
  • Meike
    Jul 01, 2018
    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2019 Richard Powers goes eco-fiction: In "The Overstory", the real protagonists are trees - living, breathing, communicating, ever-evolving, hard-working, intelligent trees. Okay, there are also people, but the quest they are on is to understa...
  • Lark Benobi
    Sep 20, 2018
    When I began reading this magnificent book I declared "this is going to be one of my favorite books of 2018." Then something happened. I wanted to know more about chestnut trees and the Hoel legacy, damnit. I was entranced by the chestnut-manna scene that begins the novel, and the lone...