Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Tree People

Louise Erdrich - Monday, September 03, 2018
I finished reading The Overstory by Richard Powers a month ago. Since that time I've thought about the book every day. The Overstory is so jammed with gorgeous information that I had to read it over once I'd finished it. I hardly stopped to absorb the information on the first read through because Powers' stories, of people and trees, are compulsively readable. Dr. Pat Westerford, likely modeled on Suzanne Simard, conducts experiments with trees that reveal how they signal one another.  he concludes that they are "linked together in an airborne network, sharing an immune network across acres of woodland. These brainless stationary trunks are protecting each other." Her discovery becomes the basis of her solitude, and then her solitude is shared and becomes a love story. I don't know how to encompass, or even describe, the interconnected nature of the stories in the book except to say that later on, when a character says that whatever is made of a tree should be as marvelous as the tree, this book comes close. As close as a book can get.

After finishing The Overstory, I walked outside and sat down underneath one of my favorite trees, the white cedar. I wanted to know everything about this tree.  From reading this book, I knew that this tree was aware, in a tree's way, of my presence. Powers uses stories to transmit gorgeous swathes of science but it all comes down to this: If we lose the forests of the earth we lose our place on the earth. His book permits one to despair, but it also contains this profound consolation: the world is deeper, richer, stranger, than we can encompass yet. There is so much to find out.  If we destroy our home, we'll never know its magical truths. 

The Overstory
is the best book I read all summer, and the most important book I've read for a very long time.     

My best of September book is The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason, who also wrote the deeply romantic and magnificent novel, The Piano Tuner.  I would pick up a copy as soon as it appears. This book has everything a reader could wish -- a young doctor ready to use the harrowing science of the day (1914). A war in which he resolves to become an experienced surgeon at some state of the art field hospital, only to be hauled into a desperate dumping ground of horror, deep in the Carpathian mountains. An unforgettable woman runs this place, a nun/nurse who has become of necessity a far more experienced doctor than our doctor. 

Oh, just read it. Believe me, you'll read it twice and pass it to your best friend.     

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Tags

spring france Crushing Books Love Minneapolis Fireworks adventure Emily Johnson Video Botany joy School Gardens Kabul Peak Oil The Royal Prussian Library Population Islam The Transition Handbook British Navy solstice, Thomas King Anishinabemowin Patrick O'Brian birchbark house series favorite dog Canada show your love Victory Gardens buffalo Keepers of the Trees Zombies E.L. Doctorow Czech Writer mississippi Empire of the Summer Moon Alan Weisman Louise Roberto Bolano Remarkable Trees aquifer 350.org Bleak House President Obama photography The Resilient Gardener how good looking you are Keystone XL north dakota monkey in a dryer Tar Sands Hillary Clinton leaves and snow The Porcupine Year tree books customers National Book Award William Trevor graphix The Blue Sky Education Anishinabe twins Kenwood Gardens Philip Roth Green Team Magers and Quinn The Birchbark House Ojibwe Too Loud A Solitude cafe closing friends Chitra Divakaruni Milkweed Press Wastepaper Collective Denial incarnation Alice Munro Greenland Chickadee Vic Glover knowledge Gail Caldwell pilgrims fresh water Mohamed's Ghosts germany Stephen Salisbury Nero euphoria Small Bookstores as Commons bill mckibben Aza health care reform Dartmouth Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive neighborhood thanks Light in August Brown Dog Ice Michael Jackson thank you friends More Remarkable Trees Catalyst Minnesota book and dinner club city of books Gary Clement Afghanistan post holiday reads ependent Poetry Unnatural Disasters This Green World local economy Wendy Makoons Geniusz The Farmer's Daughter Nemesis Aubrey/Maturin anniversary Native Arts Bill Moyers Journal gratitude 2666 Ojibwemowin Jim Harrison Let's Take the Long Way Home trees Pembina Bohumil Hrabal Easter Island State Troopers boarding school Anton Treuer Interview ireland coyote peculiar touches of green and gold Up Late Again Dogs japan Native People Makoons cafe devoted customers Climate Change S.C. Gwynne Peak Water Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge post holiday Too Much Happiness H2Oil Women and Trees Ha Jin gardens language revitalization green ptsd Hilary Mantel Kate DiCamillo Birchbark Books Tree Houses Wolf Hall The Game of Silence italy Gryphon Press support Book Review plants Rare Books Mankato Powwow the most romantic city in the world favorite tree Beth Dooley World on the Edge favorite book china The Ojibwe NACDI:All My Relations The Wealth of Nature sweden

Archive