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4.55  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  40 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 ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Hogarth (first published 2019)
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  • Greenwood by Michael Christie
    Release date: Feb 25, 2020
    Enter for a chance to win 1 of 50 galleys of Greenwood (U.S. edition).

    A magnificent generational saga that charts a family’s rise and fall, its

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 50 copies available, 962 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Nov 28 - Dec 11, 2019

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.55  · 
    Rating details
     ·  160 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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    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 ...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 shared history, love and lies? ...more
    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
    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.
    Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: giveaways, canadian, 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
    Griffin Alexander
    Pure classic storytelling that'll leave you shattered. Like if one of the best threads of U.S.A.: The 42nd Parallel / 1919 / The Big Money were the heart of the book and the intersecting stories instead were all directly deepening that one primary plotline. Which is to say less a scattershot BIG picture across all of society, but still a big booming picaresque in the modern mode that makes fresh forays into ideas of lineage, ownership, inner life, and human dignity. Goddamn—what a book! It left ...more
    Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Update: I finished and was not disappointed. As much as I wanted this lush novel to continue, I was pleased with the ending and happily past it on to someone who I know would love it as much as I did - and, 3 pages in, she was hooked.
    I'm down to the last couple of chapters of this fabulous book that I receive as a giveaway and do not want it to end. It is beautifully written. The story is told backwards over various decades and then forwards through those same years and is well knit
    Tracey the Bookworm
    4.5 stars rounded up
    The book was a solid 5 star read until the end which I felt lost the magic of the rest of the book. Nevertheless this is one of the best books I have read this year and will go into my 2019 top 10.

    ‘Nothing like poverty to teach you just how much of a luxury integrity really is.’

    ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now.’
    Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Greenwood is about family, the ones we tumble into and the ones we forge. It's about how we find our place in the world, how we fuckitup, how we do the best we know how. It's about tapping trees and riding the rails. It's about nearly unbearable loneliness and intense tenderness. It's about green wood and ancient trees. Spanning 130 years and four generations it is breathtaking in scope and magnificent in achievement. Highly recommended.
    Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Mostly enjoyable. I really enjoyed the plot once I got into it. Seemed a little fake deep to me at times tho but that’s probably just me being overly critical.
    I'm not surprised this was shortlisted for the Giller. This hits a lot of the classic Canadian fiction buttons, and has an interesting but approachable literary structure. Christie gives us an unconventional family saga in the pattern of tree rings, starting in 2038 and moving through characters to the beginning of the 20th century, and then back out to 2038 again.

    This book is about self-realization, self-actualization and the messy ways in which families come together. It's also about the
    Janet Barclay
    When I received the email telling me I'd won this book through a Goodreads giveaway, the first thing I did was check to remind myself what it was about. When I saw the phrase "It is 2038. As the rest of humanity struggles through the environmental collapse known as the Great Withering..." I wondered why I'd entered, as I generally don't like futuristic apocalyptic stories. I was relieved to realize it was a multigenerational family story, a genre my mother introduced to me when I was in my teens ...more
    Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This is a book that will stay with me, and it’s one I will revisit. It is beautifully written and stunning in its scope and depth. I especially loved the way some of the images and themes echoed through the generations of the Greenwood family narrative. An example: the comparison of the human spine to a tree. Brilliant.

    “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is right now.”
    Beautiful family saga that moves back and forth through the generations, but in a way that does not leave the reader confused. Family, loyalty, heart, and doing what is right are all themes that wind themselves throughout. The final 100 pages had me in tears. Highly recommend.
    Scribe Publications
    This book is why we read books. Why we need books. Wildly inventive, structurally elegant, deeply felt, and so very wise. Greenwood is Michael Christie’s best work ever, and that’s saying something.
    Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting

    Greenwood is brilliant. Michael Christie shows a cross section of one family's history, revealing their dark secrets, loves, losses, and the mark of an accident still visible four generations later. Year by year, page by page, the layers of this intricate and
    Samantha Trillium ☂
    This story is a multi-generational look at one heck of a family saga.

    It covers from the early 1900's all the way into our very near future - 2038. And by 2038 we are in some serious trouble.

    Jake is a forestry guide, and works in one of the very last areas where there still remains trees. Outside this little island, it is hard to live in; dust storms and other debris make it so that asthma is as common as the cold. One day, she is visited by an ex of hers who works as a lawyer, and he has some
    Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: fiction, 2019-bests
    one of the most fascinating novels i've read in a long time. it must have been a mammoth undertaking to write. i enjoyed this novel so much, i'm sad it's over. Christie does an amazing job of writing believable yet flawed characters who are put in impossible situations. The twists were delightfully twisty. and the trees, oh the trees were so wonderful. dear willow.

    Greenwood reminds me of the best of Victor Hugo's fiction, a modern day Notre Dame de Paris or perhaps a Steinbeck.

    I look forward
    Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2019s, canadiana
    This was going to be five stars but the ending is just a liiiiiiiiittle too sentimental for me. Everything else: perfect. A generational saga that works backwards and forwards. Ecocritical existentialism and apocalypse. All the ways that families can form and come together for reasons other than blood. Just perfect.
    Alexander Kosoris
    In the midst of the Great Depression in New Brunswick, Everett Greenwood lives simply in his tiny shack selling maple syrup harvested off the land he squats on. But his life gets upended when he finds an infant swaddled along with a journal in the forest, left for dead. When discovering that R. J. Holt, a rich and dangerous man, wants the baby and the book, Everett flees across the country in an attempt to deliver her to safety, but that’s only a piece of the story. Greenwood carries across more ...more
    Emily Puccini
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Interesting - not my sort of book normally but I was attracted by the environmental theme and found it to be a surprisingly good read. Two criticisms though - having hung the theme on the environmental collapse that was ignored apart from the opening and closing pages which was a missed opportunity. What caused the Withering? I can assume we know that but it could have been a larger part of the story. Secondly, I was disappointed by the closing pages which seemed to be a rapid wrapping up of ...more
    Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    "What are families other than fictions?" This poignant and powerful idea grounds the histories contained within this new novel by Michael Christie. Greenwood is at once a classic epic saga of four generations and a peek into a dystopian future. Spanning the range from the upper echelons of society to the precarious existence of people riding the rails in the thirties, this is a tale woven carefully. Secrets are revealed layer by layer and luscious description allows readers to enter into this ...more
    Adrian Hoad-Reddick
    Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    What a great novel. Combining a narrative structure reminiscent of David Mitchell's The Cloud Atlas (which came to Christie after looking at the rings of a tree) and the themes at the heart of Richard Powers' The Overstory, Greenwood is an impressive multigenerational tale featuring memorable characters and coast-to-coast Canadian settings that span the time period from early 20th century to a world of the 2030s suffering the effects of the Great Withering. Thematically rich and a page-turner! ...more
    Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
    'Greenwood' slingshots the timeline whilst remaining linear, scattering and pollinating its mysteries throughout.

    A family name is a nickname and time is a game of telephone.

    A family tree, on paper, can just look like a post-tornado pile of branch scraps.

    Optimism can be dark. That's when I find it most convincing.
    Em Jay
    Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: giveaway-wins
    Wow, this one really exceeded my expectations. It's beautiful and heartbreaking and scarily true-to-life. Everything kept me hooked, from the writing to the structure to the characters. I actually ended up wishing for MORE, which rarely happens with literary stories. Solid 5/5. Now I'm off to breathe deeply in a forest.
    Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: audio
    What a wonderful audio book! The readers are amazing and really bring this story to life. I'm surprised this book didn't at least get on the Giller short list! Best book I've read all year. It has so much... some history, a few mysteries, a pinch of romance, even some future-gazing all wrapped up in a multi-generational family saga. Can't recommend this book enough.
    Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Epic. Mostly a great read, well-plotted over multiple generations. As with some others, the end didn’t quite work for me and some of the writing was a bit contrived. Still, he’s a very talented writer even though I think I prefer his previous two books.
    Mandy Varelis
    Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: read-2019
    It's always a joy to read a book set in Canada. They're so few and far between.
    I loved the characters in this book, I could feel a kinship with them.
    The only thing I didn't like was the way the story line jumped around. I had trouble keeping everyone straight at times.
    Huguette Larochelle
    I win this wonderful book.
    It about tree and the story of 5 peoples over 100 years.
    in British Columbia.
    it a novel, i enjoy 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 ...more
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    “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.” 1 likes
    “How intimately a book is related to the tree and it’s rings, she thinks. The layers of time, preserved, for all to examine.” 0 likes
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