Richard Powers, The Overstory

Martin Kich (Wright State University)
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Powers’ twelfth novel explores the connections between trees and human beings. It focuses on activists seeking to preserve the remnants of old-growth forests, and it vividly describes the mercenary ways in which human beings have turned trees into a broad range of commodities, showing little regard for preserving the eco-systems that have both allowed the development of magnificent forests and have turned those forests into rich habitats for all sorts of other plant, insect, and animal species.

But the novel is not simply focused on such activism. There are nine main characters, and only six of those characters are directly engaged in activism, and those six characters have not all been committed to the cause as intensely or as long. So, the novel is unusual in its mix of elements. While

2532 words

Citation: Kich, Martin. "The Overstory". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 May 2024 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=41606, accessed 30 May 2024.]

41606 The Overstory 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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