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The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory is divided in four parts. The first one introduces us, individually, to the entire cast of characters. In the consecutive parts of the novel their stories unravel and at the same time come together.

This is not an easy read. It was quite tedious and repetitive at times in my opinion but the beautiful language (and here I have to shout out the impressive Spanish translation by Teresa Lanero) and the story that Powell wanted to tell made me turn the pages. I will be honest and say that I asked for the Spanish translation for my birthday because I felt very intimidated by the original text and I’m glad I did because I would’ve probably dnfed this if I had read it in English.

The Overstory is a thoughtful novel and it demands from its reader. It is a novel to reflect on our reality. The trees do not need saving (“As if forests were waiting all these four hundred million years for us newcomers to come cure them.”) Nature knows best; she adapts and regenerates. We, humans, need saving instead. We are facing extinction in the name of progress and comfort and because we believe we won’t be here to face the consequences of our actions, we kinda don’t give a shit… why should we worry? And here we prove to ourselves how selfish we are. We have forgotten we are not the only species in this Earth; we belong to an ecosystem. We are not alone. We have lost the connection to the very same thing that gave us life. There is one moment in the book when Nick, one of the characters, comes across a Native American man. Nick is living in a forest and knows that he will have to go back to the city soon to buy provisions. He tells so to the man. The Native American laughs at him and then looks at their surroundings. Nick doesn’t need to go back to the city; everything he needs to survive is in the forest. And this is exactly what we have lost and needs restoring.




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