The Overstory

2018 novel by Richard Powers / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Overstory is a novel by Richard Powers published in 2018 by W. W. Norton & Company. It is Powers' twelfth novel. The book is about nine Americans whose unique life experiences with trees bring them together to address the destruction of forests. Powers was inspired to write the work while teaching at Stanford University, after he encountered giant redwood trees for the first time.[1]

Quick facts: Author, Cover artist, Country, Language,...
The Overstory
First edition cover
AuthorRichard Powers
Cover artistAlbert Bierstadt (art)
Evan Gaffney (design)
CountryUnited States
GenreEnvironmental fiction
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company
Publication date
April 3, 2018
Media typePrint
AwardsPulitzer Prize for Fiction (2019)
ISBN978-0-393-63552-2 (hardcover)
LC ClassPS3566.O92 O94 2018

The Overstory was a contender for multiple awards. It was shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize on September 20, 2018[2] and won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction on April 15, 2019,[3] as well as the William Dean Howells Medal in 2020. Reviews of the novel have been mostly positive, with praise of the structure, writing, and compelling reading experience.[4]

Patricia Westerford, one of the novel's central characters, was heavily inspired by the life and work of forest ecologist Suzanne Simard.[5][6][7] Westerford pens the fictional novel The Secret Forest, whose title mirrors other popular texts such as The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by German forester Peter Wohlleben, The Secret Life of Trees by British science writer Colin Tudge, and Finding the Mother Tree by Simard herself.[8]