Get Your Free Audiobook

The Overstory

Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
Length: 22 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)
Non-member price: $39.50
After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction 2019

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Overstory by Richard Powers, read by Suzanne Toren.

The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late 20th-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond:

An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan.
An artist inherits 100 years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut.
A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light.
A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another.

These four, and five other strangers - each summoned in different ways by trees - are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.

There is a world alongside ours - vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

©2018 Richard Powers (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"It's a masterpiece." (Tim Winton)

"It’s not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book." (Margaret Atwood)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A mind changing book!

An amazing story that has changed the way I look at both mankind and trees alike, quite literally. I thought I loved trees before but have a new appreciation! Has made me rethink some of my choices, big and small. A great story, a little difficult to follow at times, particularly in first half, but worth the challenge.
Highly recommend!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Masterpiece

I loved this book. It was complex, enlightening, thoughtful, deeply spiritual and instructive. I'm now in love with trees, and have a lot more understanding of people who are prepared to stick their necks out for what they believe in. The reading was probably the best I've heard - many different voices, all convincing and engaging. My current favourite book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Devastatingly beautiful

This has to be in my top 3 books of all time. It's written so beautifully and with such a powerful and descriptive narrative. Would recommend to anyone.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Tedious

As an avid listener to books, I found this reading difficult to engage - too earnest in its tone which overwhelmed characters. I really wanted to like it - a subject dear to me. Maybe it was too literal in writing about such an expansive topic. An edit or short story format may have done justice the scope or intention

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivated from the first words

I loved this book! Its fantastic reading, as several great stories that grow, build, connect and diverge, until you realise Richard Powers has created a book that reflects its subject matter in every possible way and suddenly your mind is blown.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 30-03-2019

Could have been an interesting book...

I found it really difficult to finish the book. Although I like to general idea of the book — I really wanted to like it — I didn’t find the story and the naration engaging enough. I am also annoyed with the way the narrator mimicked different accents.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Earnest
  • 19-01-2019

So important, but needs sustained attention

I loved this book but it is speaking to the converted. All the authorial devices used, I get. But. Many who should be learning what this book so earnestly attempts to teach, will give up because of its flaws.
What a shame. Most of it is so beautiful. But repetition and polemics repel many people, particularly if they don’t love trees. This tale will not convert them. So sorry.
The voice actor is splendid.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 24-12-2018

Changed forevet

Brilliantly written and read. I wished it could have lasted longer. Deserved rhe man booker prize.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs Prudence Irvine
  • 21-02-2019

Too Complex for audio

I only managed a half of Part One as I found the narrative too difficult to follow in audio version. As I listen while stitching I couldn’t remember where I’d left off, every time. Perhaps best if listened to without any distraction at all, which is not how I usually listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ANNABEL
  • 18-02-2019

This book is amazing

I think everyone should read The Overstory. It’s a life changer. It does not anthropomorphise trees and nature but makes a very good argument for leaving them alone to save us as well as them. This wonderful, upsetting at times but also a fantastic story is a cry for conservation and a vital warning to self obsessed, money hungry humans....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-01-2019

Extraordinary

In a way, this novel tells us more about the understory than The Overstory. In spite of painting a world, ours, on the brink of disaster, it gives us defiance against so called ‘human progress’, sensitive intelligence towards and solidarity with Nature, a generous love of humanity, and, most of all, the possibility of redemption for our crimes against the Earth. And trees are the giant heroes of this story in an astonishingly empathetic, intelligent and generous way.
The rich, poetical, inventive, beautiful language of Richard Powers is a joy to listen to. And the reader conveys all these and the strength of the story perfectly.
Some readers might find this novel periphrastic and over long, but, in my opinion, this format could be seen as an almost pictorial representation of the shape and nature of trees themselves - trunks, growing, expanding, intertwining branches, leaves and roots.
Wonderful and necessary reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-01-2019

Phenomenal

Richard Powers writes beautifully, researches meticulously and weaves stories that are completely engrossing and totally convincing. The Overstory is both a moving and powerful work of fiction and a convincing manifesto for trees.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-2019

fantastic!!! this is the book that should have wo

this is the book that should have won the man Booker prize . beautifully read too

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • NR
  • 04-01-2019

powerful

powerful and emotional. an important book.
wish it had won the Man Booker Prize 2018

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jonathan Minchin
  • 25-12-2018

Spectacular speculation on living intelligence

The weaving together of stories and characters of multiple species. This is a work of literary dendrology.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • japlah
  • 15-01-2019

The understory

Not sure how you expose unfair and nasty unsustainable environmental practices but conclude this book is not a useful route.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ebru AW
  • 12-12-2018

late-comer plot

The books starts with individual and unrelated vignettes which are supposed to come together later in the book. I think it is the most sloppy and obvious kind of literary explication: taking pages to justify a plot that barely comes...

I got bored and uninterested in the book.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful