GREENWOOD by MICHAEL CHRISTIE
Set in the Pacific Northwest, Michael Christie’s Greenwood opens in the near future in one of the last surviving old growth forests. Whatcom READS organizers selected the book as our 2022 featured title because we admire how the narrative skillfully navigates a cross section of generations, themes and times. As Christie peels back those layers, he exposes the heartwood of what it means to struggle, survive and thrive; in essence, what it means to be human. This rich, well-paced tale delivers poignant writing with interesting characters, and is available in paperback, audio, and digital formats. The book’s themes of climate change and the many forms of family inheritance offer strong potential for programs and discussions leading up to the author’s visit in March 2022.
From the author’s website: A magnificent novel of inheritance, sacrifice, nature, and love that takes its structure from the nested growth rings of a tree, Greenwood spans generations to tell the story of a family living and dying in the shadows cast by its own secrets. With this breathtaking feat of storytelling, Michael Christie masterfully reveals the tangled knot of lies, omissions, and half-truths that exists at the root of every family’s origin story. Learn more at michaelchristie.net.
Tara Henley in the Toronto Star
October 2, 2019
Rich with evocative descriptions of West Coast wilderness and anchored by a deep, visceral bond to the trees that sustain us all, “Greenwood” is a literary page-turner that manages to be both nostalgic and modern, personal and political, intimately human and big-picture historical.
Alfred Hickling in The Guardian
March 18, 2020
Every generation produces prophets convinced that the age we are living in will be the last. Yet who in the present climate can confidently dismiss as fiction Christie’s depiction of “the quaint period before the Withering when people still believed that well-intended, measured engagement could avert catastrophe”?
Michael Upchurch in The New York Times
Feb. 25, 2020
Christie’s description can be superb, whether he’s conjuring clear-cut devastation (“a black peppering of stumps arranged like seats in a coliseum”) or Depression-era Toronto (“where souls wander and collapse, damned either by something they’ve done or by something they’re unable to do”). His look ahead to the late 2030s is gloomily wry. It’s a world where the Canadian prime minister is “widely regarded as the most powerful human being on the planet” and resource-rich Canada itself has become “the global elite’s panic room.”
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