Second Tuesday Book Club will meet in-person from 7 to 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, November 9, in the program room at Schimelpfenig Library, for our last meeting of this year. During this in-person meeting, we will observe careful social distancing, with face coverings recommended. Please email Cathe Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or comments. See you at Schimelpfenig Library soon!
The Overstory by Richard Powers
“This is not our world with trees in it. It’s a world of trees, where humans have just arrived…what use are we to trees?”
The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is described on Richard Powers’ website as “a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. 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…”
As a novelist, Powers aims to dramatize intellectual passion and philosophical issues, using a human story that is at its heart mythic and allegorical.
In this remarkable novel, the lives of nine men and women, and five trees, connect over time through a series of interlocking fables. The Pulitzer committee praised it as “an ingeniously structured narrative that branches and canopies like the trees at the core of the story.”
In her review in the New York Times Book Review, novelist Barbara Kingsolver calls this book “monumental…The Overstory accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of the story, Powers 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.”
In its starred review, Library Journal describes The Overstory as “a deep meditation on the irreparable psychic damage that manifests in our unmitigated separation from nature.”
Kirkus’ reviewer comments, “For Powers, political or environmental activism becomes a filter through which to consider the connectedness of all things—not only the human lives he portrays in often painfully intricate dimensions, but also the biosphere, both virtual and natural. “The world starts here,” Powers insists. “This is the merest beginning. Life can do anything.”
Richard Powers is the author of thirteen novels, and is considered one of the most brilliantly inventive writers working in America today. His fiction easily bridges the worlds of science and art, and he has written a formidable, complex, and profoundly visionary body of work.
He was born in 1957 in Illinois, and has taught English and creative writing at the University of Illinois and Stanford University. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1989, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; he received the Academy’s William Dean Howells Medal for The Overstory last year. His novel The Echo Maker won the National Book Award in 2006, and his newest work, Bewilderment, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and and the National Book Award earlier this year.
Powers currently lives in the foothills of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. His website is at this link.