The Overstory by Richard Powers review – a majestic redwood of a novel


This post is by Alexander Larman from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Migration meets the magical qualities of trees in the National Book award-winner’s mighty story that is richly detailed and shot through with hope

No less a writer than Margaret Atwood has said of Richard Powers that “it’s not possible for him to write an uninteresting book”. On the evidence of The Overstory, he is continuing a remarkable run that began when he came to prominence in 2006 with the National Book award-winning The Echo Maker. This is a mighty, at times even monolithic, work that combines the multi-narrative approach of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas with a paean to the grandeur and wonder of trees that elegantly sidesteps pretension and overambition. Early comparisons to Moby-Dick are unfairly lofty, but this fine book can stand on its own.

Powers marshals a diverse central cast of nine characters, dealing with the history of migration to America. We meet, among others, a plant ...