Book: The Overstory
Author: Richard Powers
Review by: Michael Manely, family law attorney at The Manely Firm P.C.
This is not a light read, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Powers’s writing is literary, moving and evocative, with the novel tracking an unusual protagonist over more than a century: trees.
The central characters of the book are drawn to trees, tied to trees and enmeshed in the lives of trees, an attitude that is immediately recognizable to those whose passions cause them to willfully accept the “tree-hugger” label.
For those who are at a loss to understand this driving force and connection, this book offers an accessible, nuanced explanation in story form at a time when conversations around climate change tend to produce polarized opinions and policy prescriptions.
Amid the struggle to become more “woke” as a species, the book offers an excellent foray into understanding the possible intelligence of trees and the wisdom in fighting for them, especially when some cultures see their value purely in terms of board feet.
As science is not only revealing to us how dependent we are upon trees, it also is showing us that the trees communicate with each other, determine and employ defenses, and even are quite possibly sentient. The Overstory opens our hearts to their story and the stories of those who see this bigger picture. I highly recommend this book to anyone willing to envision a deeper world.
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