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The Overstory

Written by: Richard Powers
Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
Length: 22 hrs and 58 mins

Regular price: ₹888.00

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction 2019

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Overstory by Richard Powers, read by Suzanne Toren.

The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late 20th-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 100 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 four, 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.

©2018 Richard Powers (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"It's a masterpiece." (Tim Winton)

"It’s not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book." (Margaret Atwood)

What members say

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-07-19

A remarkable and complex effort.

This book has changed my life (as it should). Haunting, dazzling, daunting, superb, devastating and so, so BEAUTIFUL.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-08-19

The most difficult book you have to read

This story is the literary mirror that you will struggle to look into. It's beautifully written; poetic at times and at times, pure story-telling in the ancient ways that stories were told. Full of myth-in-the-making it tells of the anti-heros that in time will become the seeds of gods. It will be very difficult to read at times because the truth hurts, but you will feel lighter, wiser and More when you are done.

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  • Earnest
  • 19-01-19

So important, but needs sustained attention

I loved this book but it is speaking to the converted. All the authorial devices used, I get. But. Many who should be learning what this book so earnestly attempts to teach, will give up because of its flaws.
What a shame. Most of it is so beautiful. But repetition and polemics repel many people, particularly if they don’t love trees. This tale will not convert them. So sorry.
The voice actor is splendid.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-12-18

Changed forevet

Brilliantly written and read. I wished it could have lasted longer. Deserved rhe man booker prize.

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  • Mr. T. Eagling
  • 14-08-19

So boring

Really well written , but so long , it didn’t need to be.

Also the narrator shouldn’t do Asian accents, like really shouldn’t .

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-03-19

Could have been an interesting book...

I found it really difficult to finish the book. Although I like to general idea of the book — I really wanted to like it — I didn’t find the story and the naration engaging enough. I am also annoyed with the way the narrator mimicked different accents.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ANNABEL
  • 18-02-19

This book is amazing

I think everyone should read The Overstory. It’s a life changer. It does not anthropomorphise trees and nature but makes a very good argument for leaving them alone to save us as well as them. This wonderful, upsetting at times but also a fantastic story is a cry for conservation and a vital warning to self obsessed, money hungry humans....

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-01-19

Extraordinary

In a way, this novel tells us more about the understory than The Overstory. In spite of painting a world, ours, on the brink of disaster, it gives us defiance against so called ‘human progress’, sensitive intelligence towards and solidarity with Nature, a generous love of humanity, and, most of all, the possibility of redemption for our crimes against the Earth. And trees are the giant heroes of this story in an astonishingly empathetic, intelligent and generous way.
The rich, poetical, inventive, beautiful language of Richard Powers is a joy to listen to. And the reader conveys all these and the strength of the story perfectly.
Some readers might find this novel periphrastic and over long, but, in my opinion, this format could be seen as an almost pictorial representation of the shape and nature of trees themselves - trunks, growing, expanding, intertwining branches, leaves and roots.
Wonderful and necessary reading.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-01-19

Phenomenal

Richard Powers writes beautifully, researches meticulously and weaves stories that are completely engrossing and totally convincing. The Overstory is both a moving and powerful work of fiction and a convincing manifesto for trees.

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  • Iain Crockett
  • 18-08-19

wow what a read!

If you care about our planet and its forests this book may be life changing. It has certainly affected me. long ranging story of the interconnections between people and between plants. Going to read it again. It should be on the syllabus of every school

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-08-19

so good I listened twice

good story with well written characters. it has made me think about trees differently. the writing is almost poetic. I think the ending was a bit disappointing but a great book beautifully read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Jones
  • 02-08-19

wonderful book

I learnt so much about trees and history from this book. Definitely one to listen to over and over again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • gregfclare
  • 01-08-19

High Expectations

Despite feeling an affinity with the causes and dilemmas of the characters in their introductions, I didn't find I had a significant emotional response to their individual stories as the interweaving plot developed. There is one moment of dramatic and traumatic climax but after that I found that it was a rather flat ride to a rather flat conclusion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mr a thomson
  • 10-07-19

This book is one I will be recommending!!!

I find it hard to put into words how much this book impacted me. It is more like five stories which blend into one with an important message for us all. I loved it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marion F.S.
  • 10-07-19

Aaah! Brilliant.

If you are a ’book-reading-person’; read this book. If you are not a ‘book-reading-person’, this is part of what you are missing out on. You can however love the Overstory anyhow in the forest.

I read “The Secret Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben two summers ago. The Overstory is for me a refresher and reminder of the awe we owe life - and trees, told through the lives of people connected to them, as we are; every one of us.

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  • W R Kemble-Clarkson
  • 18-06-19

Extraordinary, profound and timely

The story is an intricate, beautiful and captivating series of stories that intertwine and stretch over a century of life in America against a backdrop of man being largely blind to the wonders of trees and nature. A fascinating story about trees, humanity and how our past and futures are so closely linked.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-12-18

A mind changing book!

An amazing story that has changed the way I look at both mankind and trees alike, quite literally. I thought I loved trees before but have a new appreciation! Has made me rethink some of my choices, big and small. A great story, a little difficult to follow at times, particularly in first half, but worth the challenge.
Highly recommend!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Marita
  • 06-02-19

Masterpiece

I loved this book. It was complex, enlightening, thoughtful, deeply spiritual and instructive. I'm now in love with trees, and have a lot more understanding of people who are prepared to stick their necks out for what they believe in. The reading was probably the best I've heard - many different voices, all convincing and engaging. My current favourite book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • jelaiw
  • 03-02-19

Tedious

As an avid listener to books, I found this reading difficult to engage - too earnest in its tone which overwhelmed characters. I really wanted to like it - a subject dear to me. Maybe it was too literal in writing about such an expansive topic. An edit or short story format may have done justice the scope or intention

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  • Hannah Petroni
  • 11-01-19

Captivated from the first words

I loved this book! Its fantastic reading, as several great stories that grow, build, connect and diverge, until you realise Richard Powers has created a book that reflects its subject matter in every possible way and suddenly your mind is blown.

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  • Jutta Zotz
  • 02-08-19

A masterpiece

A thought-provoking and moving work of literature.
This book will change the way you view life.

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  • helmand mandozay
  • 14-06-19

beautiful

we need more stories like this in our troubled times; more stories with soul and a feeling for the overstory ... of which we are desperate, confused, holy threads

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  • Pauline King
  • 23-05-19

A Truly Amazing Journey

I loved this book, but I find it almost impossible to describe. It's a fable, a fairy tale, a history lesson and a study of modern life and an absorbing look at the power of trees to save the planet - all wrapped up in an engrossing novel. It's a tour de force that mixes and melds many lives and events over a period of time with the latest in scientific understanding of the lives of trees. People and trees interact throughout, events of the past reach forward in time to influence today. The book deals largely with forest ecology and the ecological movement and the growing wish to 'do something' to save the planet from destruction. But time becomes something different as the author compares tree years with human years, as a human life time begins and ends and trees go on and ecological issues continue, The characters are complex and vital and multi-faceted and as their lives unfolded I felt again and again 'this is so real'. The issues too are real, there is no satisfactory resolution at the end of the book - but there are many possibilities to take us ever onward. This book has made a huge impression on me, it has somehow changed me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-04-19

Devastatingly beautiful

This has to be in my top 3 books of all time. It's written so beautifully and with such a powerful and descriptive narrative. Would recommend to anyone.