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.     
Comments
Anonymous commented on 03-Oct-2018 01:36 PM
My friend gave it to me for my birthday. A month early because she couldn’t wait. We are both tree people. She is a wonderful artist that sees things in the wood. She proceeded to paint in honor of the book. Her name is Joan White check her out. Then John Bates new book came out. Again celebrating trees.
Thank you for sharing this.
Diane McGrath commented on 03-Oct-2018 02:04 PM
I clicked on this link thinking oh, it's too bad she won’t have discovered the Overstory yet, but there it was! I have found myself tongue-tied when asked to describe it. From now on I will tell people to read your description. It is the best book I have read in ages! And I now look upon trees with much more awe than I once had. Thank you.
Post a Comment!

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Tags

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

Archive