When I ran across the novel “Overstory” by Richard Powers, all I knew was that it was about trees and it won a Pulitzer Prize. I avoided reviews just so I could form my own opinion and thus write an honest book review for my own blog.
Obviously, most Pulitzer Prize winning books are great but it’s not guaranteed that you will like them. As soon as I heard that this novel was about trees, I was hooked.
Considering the novel’s door stopper size, I opted for the audio version through my Audible account. I probably wouldn’t have finished the book if I had it by my bed. Audio is easy and I listened to it mostly at work while I worked. It runs at 23 hours and I usually listen at 1.25 speed.
When I’m not running landscape crews, it’s OK to put a book on while I landscape.
You will like this book if you love trees. Trees take center stage in this novel. Just the way I like it. And while this is a work of fiction, you will learn lots about trees. I can tell that the author did his homework on trees. If you removed the fictional humans, this would be a great tree primer.
For example, we now know that trees aren’t stand alone plants. They’re interconnected, they communicate and help each other. Only trees have achieved what humans couldn’t: true communism.
Of course, there are deeper questions that go beyond trees. What are we doing to our Earth? Are we messing everything up? Can we do better?
Some of the characters resort to direct action to protect ancient trees. Having read about Earth First! and Ed Abbey’s work, this was my easily my favourite part of the book. And like Earth First!, some end up in jail.
Overstory deserves it’s Pulitzer Prize status! I thoroughly enjoyed it. The human stories are there in the background and you almost don’t notice that the author is teaching you about trees. The details about trees are hardly fiction. You will learn lots of new stuff about trees in this novel.
And you will be left to ponder some deeper questions about the way we live with nature. Read this novel if you like trees or wonder why humans are messing things up.
5 stars out of 5, easily, but get the audio version. It’s 23 hours well spent.