This Study Guide consists of approximately 87 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - The first edition of the novel was published in April 3rd 2018, and was written by Richard Powers. The themes are different of course—-Powers is not interested in discussing God or the basis of morality—but one does get the sense in reading the Overstory that the plot, characters and various literary devices are all at the service of the author’s philosophical vision. She could hear the voices of the trees and was so charismatic that she rallied four other people to commit serious felonies. Powers was inspired to write the work while teaching at Stanford University after he encountered giant redwood trees for the first time. The book is split into four sections, Roots, Trunk, Crown and Seeds. As well as Nick Hoel there’s Mimi Ma, whose father escaped from China just before the rise of communism, carrying with him only a trio of jade rings and an ancient scroll depicting the four stages of enlightenment, which his American daughters finally inherit. He desperately wishes to stop the clear cutting and to continue keeping the woods pure. He loses his family as a young age and begins a nine year project of tree sculptures. Even after her death, her words give him purpose and meaning, allowing him to create beautiful works of art that tell others the stories of nature. Martin Amis’s brilliant description of what it’s like to admire a book – the stages you go through, from resistance to reluctance, until you finally reach acceptance in the end – is probably more linear than what usually happens. Unlike the Lorax, who spoke for the trees, Richard Powers prefers to let them do their own talking. Characters die, from gas poisoning or suicide or strokes; marriages collapse; people get arrested. Her work, on the wisdom and utility of trees, underpins much of the novel: You and the tree in your backyard come from a common ancestor. And I found, while reading, that some of what was happening to his characters passed into my conscience, like alcohol into the bloodstream, and left a feeling behind of grief or guilt, even after I put it down. The Overstory Summary and Review: The story might confuse you a bit in the beginning. Wonder about the natural world and an extraordinary depth of ecological insight combine to create a profound, urgent novel. Novelists who use environmentalism tend to turn it into the premise for dystopian fantasies, as in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood, but lately it’s started creeping into more realist fictions, too. She fell in love with Nick and together they strove to protect one of the last giant redwoods. And mostly he succeeds. Olivia Vandergriff is a druggy college student who almost kills herself on a pot high then hears voices that turn her into an ecowarrior. Summary Themes Characters ... Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Overstory study guide. Author Bio • Birth—June 18, 1957 • Where—Evanston, Illinois, USA • Education—M.A., University of Illinois • Awards—Pulitizer Prize, National Book Award-Fiction • Currently—lives in the Smoky Mountian region of Tennessee Richard Powers is an American novelist whose works explore the effects of modern science and technology. Trees do most of the things you do, just more slowly. It’s an extraordinary novel, which doesn’t mean that I always liked it. Family tree … taking photographs of a horse chestnut becomes a family tradition in The Overstory. First Edition. Photograph: Alamy, A romance takes place several hundred feet up a giant redwood in the novel. The Overstory Richard Powers, 2018 W.W. Norton & Co. 512 pp. The real point of nature was to go out in it and have a feeling; it was a necessary luxury of the poetic classes. The Overstory Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to The two battle infertility, a love affair and a brain aneurysm, finally connecting over plant identification when Ray is bedridden. Then there is Mimi Ma, child of a Chinese immigrant and a Virginian woman. The Overstory takes this theme of connection with the natural world a step further, challenging people to recognize trees as creatures like themselves. It’s an astonishing performance. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. But her death did not go unnoticed and even at the end of the novel, there is the hope that it could bring about some change. The Overstory might be a good book, and it might be a bad book. Eventually all the different characters and messy plotlines start getting tangled together. —Ann Patchett, The Overstory, A Novel, Richard Powers, 9780393356687 The Overstory | Richard Powers | W. W. Norton & Company Norton's COVID-19 response: We are here to help with your courses. She follows her father's talk of enlightenment and it leads to her connections with fellow activists. All the big things happen suddenly. Roots spreads itself out across eight very different lives, extended short stories, each of which hinges, in some way, on a character’s relationship to trees. the overstory by Richard Powers ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 3, 2018 Powers’ ( Orfeo , 2014, etc.) The Overstory is split into four sections: Roots, Trunk, Crown, and Seeds.How do those sections reflect the thematic numerous concerns of the novel—that human development (in the micro and macro) mimics growth in the "natural world," that human beings are deeply, intimately bound to nature? Adam Appich is a brilliant young man who becomes more cynical with age. The book was published in multiple languages including English, consists of 502 pages and is available in Paperback format. A Norwegian named Jørgen Hoel eats the gathered chestnuts with his friends. Because reluctance and acceptance can go hand in hand. Eventually and for no reason he can understand, old man Hoel takes it into his head to photograph the tree on the same day in March every year, a tradition he passes on to his son, and then grandson, and then great-grandson, and so on, as the farm shrinks in the face of modernisation. Guilt shadows her every step but she keeps living for a man who made the ultimate sacrifice for her. They are reminded of their free-spirited daughter and are determined to leave her an inheritance full of wild things. W.W Norton & Company. To buy The Overstory (RRP £18.99) for £16.14 go to or call 0330 … Even in her failures, she was determined to do as much as she could for the beings who brought her back to life. The Overstory does not offer a strong theory – in a political-economic register, for example – as to why this should be so difficult. They brought with them the seeds of a chestnut grove and planted it at the edge of a cornfield. Like Moby-Dick, The Overstory leaves you with a slightly adjusted frame of reference. There is something exhilarating, too, in reading a novel whose context is wider than human life. Which of the characters do you most relate to and why? His quest to do so brings him closer to understanding nature around him and how humans are willingly to destroy it all. It’s a kind of litmus test for the health of a worldview – to measure the art it produces. That night, Jørgen proposes to Vi Powys, and they become Americans together, moving to Iowa to be farmers. However, she died during one of the arson attacks and her death signaled the end of the pact the five arsonists had made. THE OVERSTORY By Richard Powers 502 pp. Has The Overstory changed your perspective? Bio- and cultural diversity is part of his point. “The Overstory,” by Richard Powers, is a kaleidoscopic tale about our imperiled natural world. Neelay Mehta is a young Indian man who dreams of creating a game world exactly like the one humans live in. THE OVERSTORY Characters By Chapter: EDITOR: Christina Hale CH: FIRST NAME: LAST NAME: DESCRIPTION : Nicholas Hoel : David Henry: Thoreau: An essayist, poet and philosopher, and abolitionist in Concord. The Overstory begins with the Hoel family, Norwegians who emigrated to Brooklyn in the mid-19th century, before setting out for Iowa and starting a farm.