** WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2019 **
'It changed how I thought about the Earth and our place in it' Barack Obama
'Really, just one of the best novels, period' Ann Patchett
A wondrous, exhilarating novel about nine strangers brought together by an unfolding natural catastrophe. The perfect literary escape.
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 scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. An Air Force crewmember in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan.
This is the story of these and five other strangers, each summoned in different ways by the natural world, who are brought together in a last stand to save it from catastrophe.
'It's not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book' Margaret Atwood
'Radical and exciting' Jessie Burton
'Breathtaking' Barbara Kingsolver
Autumn makes me think of leaves, which makes me think of trees, which makes me think of The Overstory, the best novel ever written about trees, and really, just one of the best novels, period.
It changed how I thought about the Earth and our place in it . . . It changed how I see things and that's always, for me, a mark of a book worth reading
[The Overstory is] the best book I’ve read in ten years. It’s a remarkable piece of literature, and the moment it speaks to is climate change. So, for me, it’s a lodestone. It’s a mind-opening fiction, and it connects us all in a very positive way to the things that we have to do if we want to regain our planet. We’ve got lots and lots of trees where we live in Scotland. If I’m feeling unwell or unsettled in any way, I always go and sit with a tree or walk through the trees, and that’s incredibly healing and helpful
An extraordinary novel … It’s an astonishing performance …He’s incredibly good at describing trees, at turning the science into poetry …The book is full of ideas … Like Moby-Dick, The Overstory leaves you with a slightly adjusted frame of reference … Some of 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. Which is one test of the quality of a novel.
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 ... The encyclopaedic powers of Powers extend from the sciences to the literary classics. On almost every page of The Overstory you will find sentences that combine precision and vision. You will learn new facts about trees ... [An] exhilarating read.
Three Penguin Random House books have made it onto the shortlist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize; making up half of the six-strong list.