Summer reading: The Overstory

Book cover for The OverstoryThe Overstory
Richard Powers

Did you realize that the trees in a forest are interconnected, that they can communicate and even help one another out? In fact, it turns out that they form a community the likes of which we humans would do well to emulate. This magnificent novel starts off slowly — just as a forest does not appear overnight. At first the human characters appear fleetingly, and the reader begins to think this is a story whose main characters are trees, and on a tree-based time scale, human life is indeed fleeting. But as the story builds, it turns out that the humans, like the trees, are interconnected, and their most vital connections are somehow tied to the natural environment. This is a novel that has an environmental message, but it’s conveyed novelistically, not from atop a soapbox. If you surrender yourself to it, it will repay your attention many times over.

Director of Academic Planning
College of Letters & Scienc

This book is part of the 2020 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!