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 is 2038. As the rest of humanity struggles through the environmental collapse known as the Great Withering, scientist Jake Greenwood is working as an overqualified tour guide on Greenwood Island, a remote oasis of thousand-year-old trees. Jake had thought the island's connection to her family name just a coincidence, until someone from her past reappears with a book that might give her the family history she's long craved. From here, we gradually move backwards in time to the years before the First World War, encountering along the way the men and women who came before Jake: an injured carpenter facing the possibility of his own death, an eco-warrior trying to atone for the sins of her father's rapacious timber empire, a blind tycoon with a secret he will pay a terrible price to protect, and a Depression-era drifter who saves an abandoned infant from certain death, only to find himself the subject of a country-wide manhunt. At the very centre of the book is a tragedy that will bind the fates of two boys together, setting in motion events whose reverberations we see unfold over generations, as the novel moves forward into the future once more.
A magnificent novel of inheritance, sacrifice, nature, and love that takes its structure from the nested growth rings of a tree, Greenwood spans generations to tell the story of a family living and dying in the shadows cast by its own secrets. With this breathtaking feat of storytelling, Michael Christie masterfully reveals the tangled knot of lies, omissions, and half-truths that exists at the root of every family's origin story.
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.
Praise for Greenwood:
"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 elegant novel build into an epic story that is completely absorbing. I had to cancel everything for this book because I couldn't stop reading." —Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal