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4.34  ·  Rating details ·  10,354 ratings  ·  1,733 reviews
It's 2034 and Jake Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich vacationers in one of the world's last remaining forests.

It's 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, fallen from a ladder and sprawled on his broken back, calling out from the concrete floor of an empty mansion.

It's 1974 and Willow Greenwood is out of jail, free
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Hogarth (first published September 24th 2019)
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Bella It's so good that I don't even realize it's a longer book. I gobbled it up, captivated from the first paragraph. It's the kind of book that makes you …moreIt's so good that I don't even realize it's a longer book. I gobbled it up, captivated from the first paragraph. It's the kind of book that makes you want to go back to page one once you're finished, just to be back in the story again.(less)
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Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,354 ratings  ·  1,733 reviews

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Libby - On gardening hiatus
“There aren’t any normal lives, son. That’s the lie that hurts us most.”

This novel pierced my heart with its extraordinary beauty and simple grandeur. I knew right away that I was reading an excellent book due to the quality of the prose, but it was only with the book’s completion that I realized the superb writing I’d just experienced. It was a slow burn at the beginning. Author Michael Christie doesn’t get in a hurry. Just like a tree builds up its layers year after year, Christi
Carolyn Walsh
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is an outstanding multi-generational family saga. It covers four generations of the Greenwood family. The characters are complex and fully developed. The setting is mainly on an island off the coast of B.C, with towering Douglas Fir trees growing amidst thick rainforests. The story also shifts to other areas of Canada. Like the trees dominating the story, always in the background with their tangled and branching roots, the Greenwood family tree is also entangled. Who really are the Greenwoo ...more
Tara Rock
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There have been many fine reviews of this novel, but I don't possess the words that would adequately convey its brilliance. It has been referred to as a Masterpiece, and I would wholeheartedly agree. Very highly recommended. ...more
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The roots, rings, stretching branches, and changing leaves of trees represent the lives of a family connected to timber over time. Beginning in the not too distant future an island serves as a tree museum as this history of a family unfurls backwards and finally returns forward. A Canadian island provides sanctuary, refuge, a means of profit as well as contention and is the focal point of the novel. Is family determined by bloodline or is family a connection based upon shared history, love and l ...more
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tough gig having this come out the year after Richard Power's incredible Overstory but Michael Christie absolutely delivers the goods. The stories are concentric rings of a tree as we go backwards in time, passing the central core and radiating outwards again. But we kick off in the not too distant future.

We're on a remote island off the coast of BC that is one of the world's last old-growth forests where only the wealthy can come to commune with the trees in the "Greenwood Arboreal Cathedral."
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A saga, through the generations, of families, trees, the earth and our fragile dependence on each other. I like the structure of this sprawling novel which winds back through the history of the intertwined characters, Harris, Willow, Liam and Jake and reveals how each generation affects the next. Interestingly, the characters in this novel are connected mostly not by blood, but by love and chance. Slow-starting but once I got involved, I didn't want to put it down. ...more
Two weeks before I began reading Michael Christie's Greenwood, my beautiful peninsula in northwest Washington state entered lockdown. Not another Covid-19 panic; this time the fright was visible, its effects immediate and distressing to all. Our hazardous air was thick with smoke from forest fires that approached from every direction. It stayed that way for several dim, cold days. My brother texted from the Bay Area, where the sky was orange. At 1:00 in the afternoon, the streetlights had clicke ...more
Cathrine ☯️
4.5 🌲🌲🌲🌲
Solastalgia: Like a nostalgia for the depleted natural world, for the earth of the past, for the present that we know is vanishing.
From the Interview conversation with the author by Shanti Escalante
That quote evokes how I felt upon finishing this story.
I was fully engaged through all 501 pages though some were fashioned from harder wood than others.
In solidarity with the spectacular The Overstory, if you’re attuned to environmental concerns and fa
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-con, 2019
From the world's dust-choked cities they venture to this exclusive arboreal resort – a remote forested island off the Pacific Rim of British Columbia – to be transformed, renewed, and reconnected. To be reminded that the Earth's once-thundering green heart has not flatlined, that the soul of all living things has not come to dust and that it isn't too late and that all is not lost. They come here to the Greenwood Arboreal Cathedral to ingest this outrageous lie, and it's Jake Greenwood's job
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2019
Astonishing. Like the trees and forests that form the backdrop of much of this book, Greenwood is a remarkable, majestic whole, comprised of characters big and small, and stories both epic and modest.

Greenwood is the sort of book you encounter only every several years, if you’re lucky.
Carmel Hanes
Apr 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"What if a family isn't a tree at all"..."What if it's more like a forest? A collection of individuals pooling their resources through intertwined roots, sheltering one another from wind and weather and drought"..."if not a part of her family tree, then part of her family forest. And no one knows better than a dendrologist that it's the forests that matter"..."And like all stories, families are not born, they're invented, pieced together from love and lies and nothing else."

Wow. This book captu
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
So, so good! So grand and layered, all the generations, their stories - it was so great! Clearly I don't read the same pages of the Giller judges because this should definitely have been on the shortlist, in my opinion. The winner of the prize really, if I were to choose.

It's going to feel strange not reading about the Greenwood family any longer.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-author, 2019
Does for Western Canada what John Steinbeck’s East of Eden did for Salinas Valley, California. 1908 to 2038, multi generational saga of the Greenwood family. I read this slowly, savouring every scene and there were so many memorable ones. This novel is a perfect blend of setting, character and story.

And then there are the trees. The Greenwood family patriarch is a lumber baron, clear cutting trees with wild abandon. The following generations each have their own way of dealing with that family l
Abbie | ab_reads
3.5 Stars

Thank you to Scribe UK for my free copy.

Think of your dream sandwich filling. Something you would never eat every day, an indulgent filling. (Yes this is a book review, stick with me.) Now imagine someone’s offering you this dream sandwich, but they’ve smushed it between two stale end pieces of white bread (no shade if you enjoy the ends of bread, it’s called a METAPHOR). Would you still eat it? Like, I would, and I did, and I don’t even like sandwiches that much, but I do LOVE multigen
Kaytee Cobb
This book is gorgeous. I want to make out with it.
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
What if a family isn't a tree at all? What if it's more like a forest? A collection of individuals, pooling their resources by intertwined roots, sheltering each other from wind and weather and drought... what are families other than fictions? Stories told about a particular cluster of people for a particular reason. And like all stories, families are not born, they're invented. Pieced together from love and lies and nothing else

She’d always imagined the Greenwood family as a house built of s
Holly R W
As I was well into the thick of this sprawling novel, the word "Inheritance" popped into my mind. To me, the author kept posing questions about inheritance throughout the story. Some are:

*What kind of natural world do we want our children to inherit?
*What type of family ties can we give them?
*What values and personal qualities are important to pass on?

Greenwood is part of a growing literature called eco-fiction. The author imagines a near future where most of our trees are gone and the wealthy
Melissa Crytzer Fry
May 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book! I sometimes struggle with family sagas – not because of length, but because the characters aren’t often fully developed enough for me to feel a connection (much of that, of course, is based on publishing industry limitations on book length. An author can’t devote 200 pages to each character when a book spans 130 years and seven characters).

But this book somehow managed not only to hold my attention, but also to plunge me into the hearts and minds of all of the characters – even the o
Tinichix (nicole)
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful novel. This one stole my heart from the first couple chapters. Almost immediately in my head I was surrounded by trees under a lush canopy with a dappling of light and the scent of pines. I realize a book about families and forests wont be for everyone but it was an excellent fit for me.

I felt emotional attachments to the characters right away and could feel their raw emotions. This novel has a few main timelines, beginning in the future going back to the past then back again t
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, giveaways, arc
I recieved this through giveaways. It was okay, it was told over 5 different time periods of which the 2030, 2008 and 1970s began and ended the book which for me where the worse parts they were preachy in tone and I didnt really care about the characters. The bulk of the novel was during the 1930s with a bit from early 1900s which I did enjoy, the plot was involved and things aside from whining actually happened lol. Plus this section focused on the only character I really ended up caring about, ...more
Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club)
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
QUICK TAKE: I think this is one of those books that has kinda flown under the radar, which is unfortunate, because GREENWOOD is a quiet masterpiece. For fans of multigenerational family stories (think THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD, THE CORRECTIONS, ASK AGAIN YES), for fans of historical fiction (I swear I got Kristin Hannah THE GREAT ALONE vibes), for fans of fiction tackling climate change and ecology (THE OVERSTORY, AFTER THE FLOOD), and for fans of long, world-building books (this one clocks in at ...more

Fantastic book! Highly recommend this one!

Will post my review after discussing the book with my reading buddies.
Daniel Shindler
Jul 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I finished reading “ Greenwood” I had sawdust in my nose, splinters in my hands and roots tangled around my feet.The imagery in this novel is so expressive that you can feel the wood as you turn the pages.Michael Christie weaves a wealth of thematic concepts into a twisting family saga that slithers into different time periods covering more than a century.

The chronicle begins in 2038 .The environment has been despoiled.Fungi and pestilence are attacking the world population.The ecosystem is
Michael Livingston
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another sprawling book about trees (cf Barkskins and The Overstory), this is a multi-generational saga that rips along at a great pace through 150 years and 500 pages. The book is cleverly structured, mimicking the rings of an ancient tree, and the writing is crisp and occasionally beautiful. There's a lot going on and Christie is making big points about family, environmental collapse and politics alongside a slightly overblown saga that hinges on a few too many coincidences to entirely convince ...more
Mar 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Val (pagespoursandpups)
Wow, what an amazing story. Vibrant characters, lush descriptions of nature, emotive writing- what more could you ask? This book flew under the radar as it came out right when the pandemic seemed to take over everything. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up.

“ The drunker he gets, the clearer it becomes to him that his mother has lived her life fleeing a brokenness, one passed down to her by the broken people who came before her, and that she’s passed some of this same brokenness down to hi
Tom Mooney
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hugely ambitious. Beautifully executed. Painfully prescient. Deeply moving.

Michael Christie's latest is a big novel where every single page is needed to tell the story of four generations of the Greenwood family. It's the kind of sweeping family drama that restores faith in the long novel.

Not since reading East of Eden has a book shaken me so deeply. It really is a magnificent achievement. If you like proper family sagas, with complex moral centres, you'll look a long time before you find a bett
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book brought to life so many things I love in a story. A family saga, history, the natural world and phenomenal pacing. Greenwood begins in 2038 and then reaches back to 2008, 1974, 1934 and finally 1908, expertly weaving family history with a story of timber, gigantic trees and climate catastrophe. I am not sure which ring of the story I enjoyed the most. Every part was essential and seamlessly connected. With lots of characters to keep track of the book could have a messy tangle of time a ...more
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A big thank you to Michael Kindness for recommending this book. It is a compelling family saga where most of the characters are not in fact related but it makes for a wonderful yarn nevertheless.

The story begins in a not too distant future when climate change has destroyed the earth and turned it into a dustbowl save for some precious forests in Canada. There we meet Jacinda (Jake) Greenwood who is eeking out an existence as an eco-guide. We learn that she may be heir to the Holt family fortune
Grace Konstantin
Hate to say it but such a disappointment! Interesting concept and structure and some of the characters were likable but the writing felt elementary and often cliché. Simply does not even compare to Richard Powers’ the Overstory which is similarly comprised of interwoven stories with an emphasis on trees/ the natural world. I kept hoping that the writing would improve but continuously found myself dissatisfied and just wanted to be done with it :/
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MICHAEL CHRISTIE is the award-winning author of the novel If I Fall, If I Die, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Kirkus Prize, was selected as a New York Times Editors' Choice Pick, and was on numerous best-of 2015 lists. His linked collection of stories, The Beggar's Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Writers' Trust Prize for Fictio ...more

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“What if a family isn't a tree at all? What if it's more like a forest? A collection of individuals, pooling their resources by intertwined roots, sheltering each other from wind and weather and drought... what are families other than fictions? Stories told about a particular cluster of people for a particular reason. And like all stories, families are not born, they're invented. Pieced together from love and lies and nothing else.” 14 likes
“Take heart, she seems to say. The world has been on the brink of ending before. The dust has always been waiting to swallow us. People have always struggled and suffered. Your poverty is not shameful. It is not a failure of your character. Life, by its very nature, is precarious. And your struggles are never for nothing.” 10 likes
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