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The Overstory (2018)

av Richard Powers

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5,2912421,980 (4.08)484
Fiction. Literature. HTML:

A monumental novel about reimagining our place in the living world, by one of our most "prodigiously talented" novelists (New York Times Book Review).

The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fable that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An air force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. 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. These and five other strangers, each summoned in different ways by trees, are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. 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.… (mer)

  1. 51
    Barkskins av Annie Proulx (GerrysBookshelf)
  2. 31
    The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods av Julia Hill (Gwendydd)
    Gwendydd: One of the main characters of Overstory is loosely based on the life of Julia Butterfly Hill.
  3. 20
    Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest av Suzanne Simard (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: A book by the scientist who inspired the Powers character "Patricia Westerford."
  4. 10
    The Bone Clocks av David Mitchell (Cecrow)
  5. 10
    Trädens hemliga liv av Peter Wohlleben (anjenue, kaydern)
  6. 10
    The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, a Philosophy, a Warning av Justin E. H. Smith (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: If you were confused or excited by the juxtaposition of silviculture and the Internet in The Overstory, Smith's book is good stuff, especially the second chapter, on "The Ecology of the Internet."
  7. 10
    The Monkey Wrench Gang av Edward Abbey (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Environmental activist saboteurs star in each
  8. 11
    The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed av John Vaillant (Gwendydd)
    Gwendydd: These books both talk a lot about the giant trees of the west coast, logging, and anti-logging activists.
  9. 11
    Greenwood av Michael Christie (OscarWilde87)
  10. 00
    How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human av Eduardo Kohn (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Related non-fiction
  11. 00
    North Woods av Daniel Mason (allthegoodbooks)
    allthegoodbooks: Episodic and focused on trees and people
  12. 00
    Falling Animals av Sheila Armstrong (allthegoodbooks)
    allthegoodbooks: Completely different themes but very similar structures: individual stories (lots of them) which come together to complete the whole.
  13. 01
    The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth av Richard Conniff (Sandwich76)
  14. 01
    River of Gods av Ian McDonald (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: The forest in Powers' book takes on the organizing and animating function of the river in McDonald's. Both of these novels also have a regard for artificial intelligence that de-centers it from the human perspective.
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» Se även 484 omnämnanden

engelska (233)  franska (3)  nederländska (2)  tyska (1)  Alla språk (239)
Visa 1-5 av 239 (nästa | visa alla)
The book that got me into trees, which goes to show you the wondrous things that books can do. The Overstory seems to ask the reader to accept that trees have consciousness and can even make moral choices, and while I fully submit to the idea that life and reality are far, far more mysterious and wondrous than humans can yet understand, God bless us for trying so hard, I have my rather strong doubts about the claim. But still. Still. This novel shows us something big and true that most of us do not tend to see and that isn’t all that bad a description of great literature, it seems to me.

I feared for a long stretch of the second half of this doorstop novel that Powers was, after starting out so brilliantly with a series of character sketches linking his human creations to the natural world in ways seen and unseen, sending me off on Google searches to learn more about chestnuts and banyans and mulberries and elms, well, I feared he was descending into heavy handedness and mind closing didacticism. Jack booted police psychopaths operating in the service of corporate capital and state power may be a thing but it makes for an eye rolling scene in literature. And it seemed he was heading for a grand finish of nihilistic doomsdayism. But no, he branches off away from that future, sends out a bud of new life, that left me rising out of my chair in gratitude for this mighty work.

Might should be a 5 star then, but considering my enthusiasm for it hit a drag for a couple hundred pages, it gets a 4. For now. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Like the mycelium that wrap around tree roots beneath the soil, providing a symbiotic transfer of nutrients, the stories Powers conjure rise to form a single overstory of grand limbs that only nature could conceive. ( )
  ben_r47 | Feb 22, 2024 |
Have you ever heard the old saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

In his novel, “The Overstory,” Richard Powers kind of turns the saying upside down. He wants you to focus on the trees themselves.

Part polemic on the destruction of biodiversity, part Thoreauvian love-letter to the backwoods, The Overstory is nothing if not in the tradition of apocalyptic fiction, although something of a quiet, mystical apocalypse.

And it is very disquieting because there’s no happy ending.

Here’s what I get from the story: human development is killing the goose that laid the golden egg, our ancient old-growth forests. This much is pretty well a given.

So how do we get out of this mess?

1. Non-violent civil disobedience. We stop the clear-cutting by getting in the way of the saws.
2. We educate the masses, make them understand that pulling up the forests now is short-term gain for long-term pain
3. We follow this path to its logical conclusion, but along the way we “bank” our biodiversity and wait until the day when civilization has done its worst and re-build the world from its DNA up.
4. Why not encourage people to substitute their physical desires with cyber pleasures. Instead of making it easy to fly halfway across the world releasing tons of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, we give them a VR helmet and tell them to fly there virtually. Use technology to find ways not to clear cut our forests.
5. We go to the substantive roots of our legal system, the right to own property, and prevent people from disturbing the commons.

Like I said above, there is no happy ending and none of the above solutions proves feasible. Mankind doesn’t reform itself and the author, in my opinion, stalls about two-thirds of the way through his story about where to take his characters.

So much of what he feeds us about the trees is now pretty much based on scientific knowledge.

Trees do communicate amongst each other. They provide common defences against biological invaders. They exchange minerals for sugars with fungi. And they have a remarkable hydrolic system for getting water up trees hundreds of feet high.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s that there’s a lot more we can do virtually that we don’t need to do in person. We can do without literally millions of polluting car trips to and from an office if we put our minds to it. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
[Additional note, one year later... Some books stay with me; the story and characters unexpectedly popping into my memory and seeming as real as persons I have met. The Overstory has proved to be just such a one. I've added it to my "planning to re-read" category, which means it may likely get a five-star rating from me at that point.]

While reading the first two-thirds of this book, I was so enthused that I could easily imagine reading it a second time and giving it 5 stars. But the last third was like an overly long, slow denouement to the emotional climax.
I'm very glad that prior to reading this book I had already read [b:The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World|28256439|The Hidden Life of Trees What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World|Peter Wohlleben|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1464281905l/28256439._SX50_.jpg|48295241] by [a:Peter Wohlleben|4110912|Peter Wohlleben|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1474069110p2/4110912.jpg] and [b:A Natural History of North American Trees|567816|A Natural History of North American Trees|Donald Culross Peattie|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1348962010l/567816._SX50_.jpg|554885] by [a:Donald Culross Peattie|651969|Donald Culross Peattie|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/m_50x66-82093808bca726cb3249a493fbd3bd0f.png]. Those books lay down some of the real science and prose that Powers weaves so well into The Oversory.
For those more inclined to fiction than to non-fiction, this is an excellent introduction into the amazing world of trees. Highly recommended in spite of the drown-out ending. ( )
1 rösta Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
I had read Lab Girl by Hope Jahren and several other books by Richard Powers, so I looked forward to reading The Overstory. I thought it was terrific, and I learned so much about forests. It is absolutely true, and whatever we make out of wood needs to be at least as spectacular as the tree it came from. In addition, I have lived in the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, on the Stanford University campus, and in San Francisco Bay area, and I have marveled at the forests in all of those locations. I think I must have been a tree in a previous life! ( )
  jemisonreads | Jan 22, 2024 |
Visa 1-5 av 239 (nästa | visa alla)
“Literary fiction has largely become co-opted by that belief that meaning is an entirely personal thing,” Powers says. “It’s embraced the idea that life is primarily a struggle of the individual psyche to come to terms with itself. Consequently, it’s become a commodity like a wood chipper, or any other thing that can be rated in terms of utility.” [...]

“I want literature to be something other than it is today,” Powers says. “There was a time when our myths and legends and stories were about something greater than individual well-being. "
tillagd av elenchus | ändralithub.com, Kevin Berger (Apr 23, 2018)
 
Acquiring tree consciousness, a precondition for learning how to live here on Earth, means learning what things grow and thrive here, independently of us.

We are phenomenally bad at experiencing, estimating, and conceiving of time. Our brains are shaped to pay attention to rapid movements against stable backgrounds, and we’re almost blind to the slower, broader background drift. The technologies that we have built to defeat time—writing and recording and photographing and filming—can impair our memory (as Socrates feared) and collapse us even more densely into what psychologists call the “specious present,” which seems to get shorter all the time. Plants’ memory and sense of time is utterly alien to us. It’s almost impossible for a person to wrap her head around the idea that there are bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of California that have been slowly dying since before humans invented writing.
 

» Lägg till fler författare (25 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Richard Powersprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Allié, ManfredÜbersetzermedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Bierstadt, AlbertOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Chauvin, SergeTraductionmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Gaffney, EvanOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Guevara, Teresa Lanero Ladrón deTraductormedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Karhulahti, SariÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Kempf-Allié, GabrieleÜbersetzermedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Lanero, TeresaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Noorman, JelleÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Quinn, MarysarahFormgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Toren, SuzanneBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Vighi, LiciaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nodto me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right.
-RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Earth may be alive: not as the ancients saw her--a sentient Goddess with a purpose and foresight--but alive like a tree. A tree that quietly exists, never moving except to sway in the wind, yet endlessly conversing with the sunlight and soil. Using sunlight and water and nutrient minerals to grow and change. But all done so imperceptibly, that to me an old oak tree on the green is the same as it was when I was a child.
--James Lovelock
Earth may be alive: not as the ancients saw her - a sentient Goddess wit a purpose and foresight - but alive like a tree. A tree that quietly exists, never moving except to sway in teh wind, yet endlessly conversing with the sunlight and the soil. Using sunlight and water and nutrient minerals to grow and change. But all done so imperceptibly, that to me the old oak tree on the green is the same as it was when I was a child.
-JAMES LOVELOCK
Tree . . . he watching you. You look at tree, he listen to you. He got no finger, he can't speak. But that leaf . . . he pumping, growing, growing in the night. While you sleeping you dream something. Tree and grass same thing.
--Bill Neidjie
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To be human is to confuse a satisfying story with a meaningful one, and to mistake life for something huge with two legs.
The most wondrous products of four billion years of life need help.
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

A monumental novel about reimagining our place in the living world, by one of our most "prodigiously talented" novelists (New York Times Book Review).

The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fable that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An air force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. 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. These and five other strangers, each summoned in different ways by trees, are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. 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.

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