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Greenwood cover art

Greenwood

Written by: Michael Christie
Narrated by: Raven Dauda, David Ferry, Christo Graham, Amy Matysio
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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

2019, Scotiabank Giller Prize, Long-listed

"Astonishing. . . . What makes Greenwood an essential climate-change novel is that, rather than obsessing over a single, final apocalypse to come, it attempts something much harder and more ambitious: to transcend altogether the tropes of victim and antagonist. . . . And to instead present humanity and nature as deeply, ultimately, endlessly interconnected. . . . Greenwood offers a rare sentiment in the climate emergency: hope." (Damian Tarnopolsky, The Walrus)

"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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Highly recommend

Outstanding book and performances. Deeply moving and so well written it often took my breath away or brought me to tears. I haven’t read a book this good and enthralling and unique in a long time. Highly recommend.

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A poem in prose

This novel displays true craft and beauty. Every word is where it is for a purpose just how every tree in this novel has a place.

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Best Audiobook Ever

Narration is great and the story really had me too. I binged it. Creative way to put it all together, can’t say more Just Get Going!

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spectacular read with exquisite visualization

Spectacular read! The tone of voice is so beautiful and calming. The visuals the story creates are so vivid is transports you to another time and place. I love how the stories intertwine. I'd include this as one of my favorite books! Especially if you're a nature lover

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Great read!

I loved this book. All the Canadian context and rich characters. A unique story. Will look for this author again.

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Loved it

Trying new authors can be ‘scary’ but I truly enjoyed this story, I didn’t want it to end.

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Actual, Masterful Storytelling

I've never wanted to know my ancestors stories more. What an epic, richly rendered family saga, rooted in reverence of our dwindling, violated forests.

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The craft and the wizardry of plot/ character

Loved everything about the novel. Wanted an epilogue but I guess that speaks to its success when you do not want the story to end.

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Wonderful story with ear-catching narration

This story kept me engaged from start to finish. I felt like I learned a lot while also being entertained.

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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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