LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
A CBC BOOKS "BEST CANADIAN FICTION" TITLE OF THE YEAR
From the award-winning author of If I Fall, If I Die comes a propulsive, multigenerational family story, in which the unexpected legacies of a remote island off the coast of British Columbia will link the fates of five people over a hundred years. Cloud Atlas meets The Overstory in this ingenious nested-ring epic set against the devastation of the natural world.
They come for the trees. It's 2038 and Jacinda (Jake) Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich-eco-tourists in one of the world's last remaining forests. It's 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, sprawled on his back after a workplace fall and facing the possibility of his own death. It's 1974 and Willow Greenwood is just out of jail for one of her environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father's once vast and rapacious timber empire. It's 1934 and Everett Greenwood is a Depression-era drifter who saves an abandoned infant, only to find himself tangled up in the web of a crime, secrets, and betrayal that will cling to his family for decades. And throughout, there are trees: a steady, silent pulse thrumming beneath Christie's effortless sentences, working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival.
Transporting, beautifully written, and brilliantly structured like the nested growth rings of a tree, Greenwood reveals the knot of lies, omissions, and half-truths that exists at the root of every family's origin story. It is a magnificent novel of greed, sacrifice, love, and the ties that bind--and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.
MICHAEL CHRISTIE is the author of the novel If I Fall, If I Die, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Kirkus Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was selected as a New York Times Editors Choice Pick, and a linked collection of stories, The Beggar's Garden, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Globe & Mail. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, he divides his time between Victoria and Galiano Island, where he lives with his family in a timber frame house that he built himself.
“Ingeniously structured and with prose as smooth as beech bark, Michael Christie’s Greenwood is as compulsive as it is profound. A sweeping intergenerational saga that explores trees and their roots—from the precious evergreens that become commodities in the entertainment business of the future to the intricately tangled trees of family—all of it is dazzlingly delivered in a framework inspired by the actual growth rings of a tree. Every one of Greenwood’s characters burrowed their way into my heart. Beguilingly brilliant, timely, and utterly engrossing, Greenwood is one of my favorite reads in recent memory.”—Kira Jane Buxton
“Christie skillfully teases out the details in a page-turner of a saga that complements sylvan books such as Sometimes a Great Notion and The Overstory, one that closes with Jake’s realization that, tangled lineage and all, a family is less a tree than ‘a collection of individuals pooling their resources through intertwined roots.’ Beguilingly structured, elegantly written: ecoapocalyptic but with hope that somehow we’ll make it.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A rugged, riveting novel . . . This superb family saga will satisfy fans of Richard Powers’s The Overstory while offering a convincing vision of potential ecological destruction.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)