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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award
Longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize

A CBC Books "Best Canadian Fiction" Title of the Year 

National Best Seller 

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. 

©2019 Michael Christie (P)2019 McClelland & Stewart

What the critics say

"[An] eerily real-feeling future." (Globe and Mail)

"Rich with evocative descriptions of West Coast wilderness and anchored by a deep visceral bond to the trees that sustain us all, Greenwood is a literary page-turner that manages to be both nostalgic and modern, personal and political, intimately human and big-picture historical. In an era of so much uncertainty, it is comforting to see novelists begin to work through the biggest issue of our age. And, in this case, convert our collective suffering into brilliant, beauty-filled art." (Toronto Star)

"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)

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What listeners say about Greenwood

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A spellbinding account of human/nature

There were so many moments in the listening of this book where I gasped, had to hit pause and rewind because I simply didn’t want to miss a single word of Michael Christie’s profoundly beautiful story. I would jot lines of narration or dialogue down, in the hope that such impeccable storytelling and writing will come to me as I work to tell a similar tale. “If only we were like trees. If only we had centuries. Maybe then there’d be time enough for us to mend all the harm we have done.” Does it get any better than that? I think not. Greenwood gets five stars. I will be buying the printed version and will hold it close to my heart and at the side of my desk always.

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A View

A story about principles. Excellent inter generational perspectives that are at times frightening, admirable and frustrating. The author gives the reader plenty to think about. A wonderful story with many themes and events that kept me engaged from Chapter one to the end.

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LOVED

Love this book. Like beyond. It was a gem. I was a bit bored/ under-enthused by the ending though. I highly recommend reading 100%.

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Disappointing ending

I was absolutely loving this novel and could no wait to keep listening. But the ending was such a disappointment. At times it was difficult to keep all the characters and decades straight.

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Most moving book I've listened to.

Beautiful prose, an unfolding series of mysteries, revealing deep truths of human existence in nature, family... I can't recommend this book enough. The performances are perfect, unobtrusive. This book stirred me deeply.

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A very human story...

Though the different narrators threw me off a little, they did help to mark the different eras. The author is absolutely brilliant! The story is a mix of beauty and brutality, hopelessness and hopeful...very human.

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A renewal for the tree lover

if you're feeling swallowed by the downturn of the environment please read this book. It will bring you back to a time you didn't know you wanted to visit.

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  • PWL
  • 2022-02-05

A Fabulous Read/Listen

Well written, well researched, this novel captivated me from beginning to end. It is bleak but so is the world in which we’re living in 2022. Narration is very good except for the part read in a terrible Irish accent by the female narrator in the latter part of the novel.
I’m looking forward to reading more by Michael Christie.

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  • Kat
  • 2021-11-14

Exceptional and unique

A very complex and rich work with such obvious reverence for the natural world and trees in particular. The writer takes you on a broad sweep from WWI and the dust bowl era to a frightening future where trees are almost extinct. Beautiful writing .

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Outstanding

This is a beautiful narration of a compelling and timely novel. Thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-04-24

Beautiful heart wrenching story

I got so wrapped up in the story that I devoured it relatively quickly and now that it’s over I kind of wish I could savoured it little more.

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  • Regis
  • 2021-03-06

Exceptional writing, intriguing premise

Refreshing to read such a well written story based on an insightful premise of humanities’ selfish nature. He is one of the best writers I’ve read in years...