A Novel

Book - 2020
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"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 after being locked up for one of her endless series of environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father's once vast and violent timber empire. It's 1934 and Everett Greenwood is alone, as usual, in his maple syrup camp squat when he hears the cries of an abandoned infant and gets tangled up in the web of a crime that will cling to his family for decades. And throughout, there are trees: thrumming a steady, silent pulse beneath Christie's effortless sentences and working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival. A shining, intricate clockwork of a novel, Greenwood is a rain-soaked and sun-dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood and blood--and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: London ;, New York :, Hogarth,, 2020
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781984822000
Branch Call Number: FICTION Christie 2019
Characteristics: 504 pages : illustration ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

"It opens up in the year 2034 with a young park ranger and guide in one of the world's last surviving forests. From there the story works backwards through time along one family's saga and the history of a Canadian forest. It's one of those books that feels soaked in nature and has character... Read More »

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Apr 02, 2020

I loved this novel. At its core are trees - real ones and family trees. Our guide in this is a young woman who works as a guide on a tourist spot in British Columbia - an island where trees survive in a world where most have been wiped out by a virus. She's doing her best to survive and pay her massive student debt in this near-future world. But she's drawn into finding out more about her family, going back several generations and we're along for the ride. At the front of the book is an illustration of a tree's interior - its rings which correspond to the dates and people from our guide's family tree. The book is written the same way - it starts in the present with the tour guide (the outer layer on one side of the tree) and goes inwards to the core, the starting point of her family, and then works its way back to the present/ring on the other side. This novel has well developed characters, glimpses into past eras, and an intriguing look at what makes a family, secrets and all. Plus an important environmental message. And it's Canadian. If you like complicated family sagas and historical fiction with a bit of the future thrown in, try this.

Mar 25, 2020

Beginning in the year 2038, "Greenwood" traces a Pacific Northwest family back to 1908, and then out to 2038 again, just as one would trace the annual circles on a felled tree. Trees are inextricably wound through this family's history - an upscale eco-tourist guide on a British Columbia island of rare old growth trees, loggers, carpenters - each generation of the Greenwood family has a connection to the forest. The mystery of an abandoned infant found in the forest, illicit affairs, a love story or two, and Pacific Northwest history all conspire to ensure that this novel has something for everyone. A must-read for anyone who loved "The Overstory" by Richard Powers or "Deep River" by Karl Marlantes.

Mar 15, 2020

In 2038, Jake (Jacinda) is mired in college debt, has a fondness for alcoholic drinks and is working as a guide on an exclusive forest preserve island off the coast of British Columbia. The world is being destroyed by the “withering” and most of the US is covered in dust. When she discovers she may own the island, the story moves to the past and the legacy various people brought to that pristine forest. Going back to 1908, the reader discovers how one misguided action impacts the future. Published in Canada last year, it was nominated for several prizes. Its clear from the author’s descriptions he loves the forest. Layer by layer, just as in a forest, actions impact the future.

STPL_Kerry Mar 10, 2020

Wow this book is fantastic. Part arboreal missive, part epic family saga--it is both a cautionary tale (we can't treat our country like a tireless vending machine for natural resources!) and a beautifully crafted history. This novel is wonderfully written, and even though all the stories could stand on their own, the restraint in how each part of the story is revealed and and how they all come together in the end makes it that much more interesting. I wish it was possible to travel through the histories of the people in my family in the same way. There were parts in this book that left me with questions, and definitely parts that made me think the writer was not involved in child-rearing (!) but over-all I fully recommend this read!

Feb 14, 2020

Quite a commitment as it's very long and doesn't always flow, but it's worthwhile given its many narrative strengths. However, the long section with Everett ferrying the newborn baby seemed completely incredible and quite ridiculous. Heart in the right place but sentimental and totally unrealistic. As if...!

JessicaGma Feb 11, 2020

Written like Cloud Atlas where some eras tales spanned either side of the heartwood, Greenwood was an interesting tale of the Greenwood family and the misadventures of the varying generations, held up against trees and forests. I see why it was longlisted for the Giller, and it is definitely more accessible than Cloud Atlas. A great read

Jan 10, 2020

Join us at 2pm on Saturday January 25th at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library in downtown Nanaimo for an afternoon with Michael Christie! This event will feature an author reading, question and answer period, and opportunities to purchase books and get them signed.

For more information about the event, check out this link:

This event is part of the author reading series Big Names, Little City. All events are moderated by members of the Federation of British Columbia Writers with book sales provided by Windowseat Books.

Don’t miss future events at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library featuring Susan Juby, Eve Joseph, and Billy-Ray Belcourt. For more information about the series and each event, have a look at this link:

patcumming Jan 03, 2020

Family story that spans many years and Canadian locales. A love letter to the trees that sustain us. Highly readable, impeccably written.

STPL_JessH Nov 23, 2019

"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 fictional world as though we stand right next to the players. I appreciated the careful attention to craft and composition and loved all the details. This is a book for people who enjoy sinking their teeth deep into a weighty book. There is so much to notice, so much to savour. At one point, I was disappointed that some key action happened "off screen" and wondered if an editor thought the book needed to be shorter so that scene was cut? It seemed incongruous with the rest of the novel that we do not have a chance to witness such a pivotal moment. That said, this is a book I highly recommend. In fact, I am actively peer pressuring people to add their name to the holds list.

Oct 15, 2019

This novel is incredibly readable. The story told thru time and in the voices of a number of protagonists. Each character was authentic and relatable. Although the novel begins in the year 2038 while the world is in the grip of an ecological dystopia, the environmental message is not strident but meaningful. I'm looking forward to reading more by this talented author.

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