The Overstory by Richard Powers

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The Overstory 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.

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Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Overstory by Richard Powers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

teetered on this one so much. Mostly loved the first third to half, then disliked the rest, ended up DNFing half way through. I enjoyed it as an audiobook, narrated by Suzanne Toren, who was lovely and characterized the multiple reading voices so cleverly.. I think anyone looking for a relaxing, inner look at nature and how they and others fit into the world will enjoy this one.

The Story
The first several chapters were super captivating. I thoroughly enjoyed nature descriptions, giving life to each encounter with plants and the elements, as well as some of what read as short stories.

However it became too much for me. Meandering, then much more monotony, and too anthropomorphizing. Over analyzed.

Nit-picking every detail of the scene, adding even more details, describing objects and purpose to death. I’m just not a fan overly over-grazing navel grazing, it’s too much thought and effortful, too much polish on something that could be said and described in one or maybe a few words and just be as impactful.

Literacy pretensions, lacking a bit of deep sense of personal reflection at the same time, in an over generalized way.

The Writing
Some parts were stunning and beautifully written, others were mundane in variety, likely because every detail was overly described with adjectives.

Characters
Some characters lacked distinguishing attributes. I think it comes back to being overly descriptive with everyone and everything, which lost my interest over time.

Dialogue
Dialogue is more curt than my preferred taste, on the same note, it also didn’t reflect the nature of the overall book in tone and quality that I thought it would be, bringing up this frustrated, foul tone that didn’t always fit the scene well and didn’t make much of a point or emphasis, even with the tense, more dynamic scenes.

Much more overreactive and jarring, which made it distracting to read the following more serene parts.

I will definitely love to try more from this author.

View all my reviews

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