Tag Archive for: Richard Powers

“Life is something we need to stop correcting…Every one of us is an experiment, and we don’t even know what the experiment is testing. Every belief will be outgrown, in time.”

In the Booker-shortlisted follow-up to The Overstory, Power’s narrator Theo Byrne is a university astrobiologist who has found a way to search for life on other planets dozens of light years away. But he is also mourning the death of his environmental-activist wife and caring for Robin, their neurodivergent nine-year-old. Robin is funny, loving and intensely engaged in the natural world. But he becomes increasingly disturbed, and after a violent outburst at school, the strength of the father-son bond will be tested to its limits. What can a father do, when those around him refuse to understand his rare and troubled child? And how can he reveal to his boy the truth about our bewildered world?

‘Powers has the rare gift of being able to deal with big ideas while keeping you interested in the lives and emotions of his characters.’Sebastian Faulks

“Read our Librarian’s top climate change fiction picks by heading to our Fiction section”

‘This is not our world with trees in it. It’s a world of trees, where humans have just arrived.’ This is the story of a group of strangers, each summoned in different ways by the natural world, brought together to save it from catastrophe.

An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate 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.

Moving through history and across landscapes, this tree-filled novel unfurls our potential to destroy or restore the natural world.

‘This novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize, begins with the mass death of trees: the North American chestnut blight, which killed up to 4 billion trees at the start of the 20th century. While this book is very much about people – weaving together the interconnected stories of nine human protagonists – trees are the real subjects (not the objects) of the narrative, and Powers takes the reader deep into their inner lives, following the mycelial threads that link the human to the arboreal. This book genuinely changed how I saw the world: for weeks after finishing it, I could hardly walk down a street without stopping to stare at a tree, awestruck and dumbfounded, astonished that I could ever have taken their extraordinary presence for granted.’ Nick Hunt, guest contributor to May 2022’s Rebel Library Recommends


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