The Overstory

by Richard Powers


2022 Sep 22


2022 Oct 09


The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of - and paean to - the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel 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. 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.

Notes & Highlights

A glance down at his handwritten notes. On cue, words boxed in red swim up from the clairvoyant past to the forgetful future. Adam has delivered the line before, for several years running in this survey course, but their full sense has waited for now. He pushes his rimless glasses back up the slope of his sweating nose and shakes his head at the packed hall. What a lesson these students will leave with today.
“You can’t see what you don’t understand. But what you think you already understand, you’ll fail to notice.”

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The Overstory by Richard Powers