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Greenwood

Written by: Michael Christie
Length: 15 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

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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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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%.

1 person found this helpful

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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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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.