Book - 2019
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From the award-winning author of If I Fall, If I Die comes a propulsive, multigenerational family story, in which the unexpected legacies of a remote island off the coast of British Columbia will link the fates of five people over a hundred years. Cloud Atlas meets The Overstory in this ingenious nested-ring epic set against the devastation of the natural world.

They come for the trees. It's 2038 and Jacinda (Jake) Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich-eco-tourists in one of the world's last remaining forests. It's 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, sprawled on his back after a workplace fall and facing the possibility of his own death. It's 1974 and Willow Greenwood is just out of jail for one of her environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father's once vast and rapacious timber empire. It's 1934 and Everett Greenwood is a Depression-era drifter who saves an abandoned infant, only to find himself tangled up in the web of a crime, secrets, and betrayal that will cling to his family for decades. And throughout, there are trees: a steady, silent pulse thrumming beneath Christie's effortless sentences, working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival.

Transporting, beautifully written, and brilliantly structured like the nested growth rings of a tree, Greenwood reveals the knot of lies, omissions, and half-truths that exists at the root of every family's origin story. It is a magnificent novel of greed, sacrifice, love, and the ties that bind--and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.
Publisher: [Toronto] :, McClelland & Stewart,, c2019
ISBN: 9780771024450
Branch Call Number: CHR
Characteristics: 490 pages :,illustrations ;,24 cm


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IndyPL_CarriG Jun 22, 2020

A lovely and heart-wrenching family saga that begins in a future beset by a changing climate and travels back to the earlier days of the 1930's lumber industry. I found all of the characters compelling, and the way he wove the threads of plot together throughout the different timelines were both easy to follow and made for strong emotional resonance. A beautiful read.

Jun 04, 2020

The rest of the reviews really say it all but this was one of my favourite books so far this year. Very well-written in an interesting style broken down by character /year that correspond with the rings (age) on British Columbia's ancient old growth forests. This book sends a vital environmental message through the eyes of complicated, flawed characters who are members of different generations of one family. Engrossing. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because of the inconclusive ending but that is just a personal bias. Highly recommend.

Apr 02, 2020

I loved this novel. At its core are trees - real ones and family trees. Our guide in this is a young woman who works as a guide on a tourist spot in British Columbia - an island where trees survive in a world where most have been wiped out by a virus. She's doing her best to survive and pay her massive student debt in this near-future world. But she's drawn into finding out more about her family, going back several generations and we're along for the ride. At the front of the book is an illustration of a tree's interior - its rings which correspond to the dates and people from our guide's family tree. The book is written the same way - it starts in the present with the tour guide (the outer layer on one side of the tree) and goes inwards to the core, the starting point of her family, and then works its way back to the present/ring on the other side. This novel has well developed characters, glimpses into past eras, and an intriguing look at what makes a family, secrets and all. Plus an important environmental message. And it's Canadian. If you like complicated family sagas and historical fiction with a bit of the future thrown in, try this.

Mar 25, 2020

Beginning in the year 2038, "Greenwood" traces a Pacific Northwest family back to 1908, and then out to 2038 again, just as one would trace the annual circles on a felled tree. Trees are inextricably wound through this family's history - an upscale eco-tourist guide on a British Columbia island of rare old growth trees, loggers, carpenters - each generation of the Greenwood family has a connection to the forest. The mystery of an abandoned infant found in the forest, illicit affairs, a love story or two, and Pacific Northwest history all conspire to ensure that this novel has something for everyone. A must-read for anyone who loved "The Overstory" by Richard Powers or "Deep River" by Karl Marlantes.

Mar 15, 2020

In 2038, Jake (Jacinda) is mired in college debt, has a fondness for alcoholic drinks and is working as a guide on an exclusive forest preserve island off the coast of British Columbia. The world is being destroyed by the “withering” and most of the US is covered in dust. When she discovers she may own the island, the story moves to the past and the legacy various people brought to that pristine forest. Going back to 1908, the reader discovers how one misguided action impacts the future. Published in Canada last year, it was nominated for several prizes. Its clear from the author’s descriptions he loves the forest. Layer by layer, just as in a forest, actions impact the future.

STPL_Kerry Mar 10, 2020

Wow this book is fantastic. Part arboreal missive, part epic family saga--it is both a cautionary tale (we can't treat our country like a tireless vending machine for natural resources!) and a beautifully crafted history. This novel is wonderfully written, and even though all the stories could stand on their own, the restraint in how each part of the story is revealed and and how they all come together in the end makes it that much more interesting. I wish it was possible to travel through the histories of the people in my family in the same way. There were parts in this book that left me with questions, and definitely parts that made me think the writer was not involved in child-rearing (!) but over-all I fully recommend this read!

Feb 14, 2020

Quite a commitment as it's very long and doesn't always flow, but it's worthwhile given its many narrative strengths. However, the long section with Everett ferrying the newborn baby seemed completely incredible and quite ridiculous. Heart in the right place but sentimental and totally unrealistic. As if...!

JessicaGma Feb 11, 2020

Written like Cloud Atlas where some eras tales spanned either side of the heartwood, Greenwood was an interesting tale of the Greenwood family and the misadventures of the varying generations, held up against trees and forests. I see why it was longlisted for the Giller, and it is definitely more accessible than Cloud Atlas. A great read

Jan 10, 2020

Join us at 2pm on Saturday January 25th at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library in downtown Nanaimo for an afternoon with Michael Christie! This event will feature an author reading, question and answer period, and opportunities to purchase books and get them signed.

For more information about the event, check out this link:

This event is part of the author reading series Big Names, Little City. All events are moderated by members of the Federation of British Columbia Writers with book sales provided by Windowseat Books.

Don’t miss future events at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library featuring Susan Juby, Eve Joseph, and Billy-Ray Belcourt. For more information about the series and each event, have a look at this link:

patcumming Jan 03, 2020

Family story that spans many years and Canadian locales. A love letter to the trees that sustain us. Highly readable, impeccably written.

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