Overstory (Powers) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Monumental…The Overstory accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of the story, he pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size.… A gigantic fable of genuine truths.
Barbara Kingsolver - New York Times Book Review


[Powers is] brilliant on the strange idea of "plant personhood" …opening our eyes to the wondrous things just above our line of sight. Memorable chapters unfold [with] many unforgettable images in a novel devoted to "reviving that dead metaphor at the heart of the word bewilderment."
Sam Sacks - Wall Street Journal


Remarkable.… This ambitious novel soars up through the canopy of American literature and remakes the landscape of environmental fiction.
Ron Charles - Washington Post


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 - Boston Globe


The time is ripe for a big novel that tells us as much about trees as Moby Dick does about whales....The Overstory is that novel and it is very nearly a masterpiece.… On almost every page of The Overstory you will find sentences that combine precision and vision.
Times (UK)


An extraordinary novel.… An astonishing performance.… There is something exhilarating, too, in reading a novel whose context is wider than human life. The Overstory leaves you with a slightly adjusted frame of reference.… 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.
Guardian (UK)


[I]mpassioned but unsatisfying.…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.… [T]he novel feels curiously barren.
Publishers Weekly


Standing as silent witnesses to our interweaving genealogies, cyclical wars, and collapsing empires, trees contain our collective history.… [A] deep meditation on the irreparable psychic damage that manifests in our unmitigated separation from nature. —Joshua Finnell, Colgate Univ., Hamilton, NY
Library Journal


(Starred review.) A magnificent saga.… Powers’s sylvan tour de force is alive with gorgeous descriptions; continually surprising, often heartbreaking characters; complex suspense; unflinching scrutiny of pain.… [P]rofound and symphonic.
Booklist


(Starred review.) [A] masterpiece of operatic proportions, involving nine central characters and more than half a century of American life.… A magnificent achievement: a novel that is, by turns, both optimistic and fatalistic, idealistic without being naive.
Kirkus Reviews

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