Review: Greenwood

GreenwoodTitle: Greenwood (2020)
Author: Michael Christie
Pages: 528

Stretching from the near future to the distant past…and then back again, Greenwood tells a beautiful multi-generational story of love, loss, and the meaning of family in all shapes and forms. 

Add this title to the growing trend of excellent books about trees that have sprouted up in recent years. Author Michael Christie shines a light on humanity’s relationship with trees through the eyes of each main character. Some fight for the preservation and protection of trees at all costs, some craft beautiful art from their component parts, and some heavily exploit them in the name of capitalism. Ultimately, Greenwood speculates a future “Great Withering” of Earth’s trees as rapid climate changes leave our towering friends vulnerable and dying.
Greenwood Ring Structure
Christie cleverly uses the cross-section of a tree trunk to organize the nested storytelling structure. Each subsequent section feels tangentially related to the section before it, but as the connections between events and characters become more clear, the full picture emerges, especially in the back half of the book, where we revisit each era once again. I slowly worked my way through this novel and found myself fully immersed in each individual character and story. Christie’s prose is beautifully composed and his descriptions of nature are stunning. I’d recommend this to any lover of nature or fan of epic family sagas.

★★★★½ out of 5


Review: Crossroads of Canopy

canopy-fullTitle: Crossroads of Canopy (2017)
Author: Thoraiya Dyer
Pages: 336
Titan’s Forest #1
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

I maintain that if a book has tree-centric 26863057cover art, designed by Marc Simonetti (see right), I will drop everything to read it. Unfortunately, I was much less enamored by the pages beneath the beautiful cover.

Conceptually, the novel intrigued me — there is a societal hierarchy that is based on where you live within the trees that make up the world. It feels like a fairytale, following the exploits of a girl who lives amongst the trees and the gods that rule them. Execution-wise, it just did not work for me. I found the protagonist, Unar, to be frustrating, unlikable, and whiny for most of the book. My issues with the main character created a feeling of detachment from the overall proceedings and I had a hard time caring about what was happening.

The setting made me think that there would be some sense of whimsy or joy present in such a fantastical world, but instead there is a gloomy energy that I never quite connected with. What should have been a 336-page jaunt feels like a 750-page slog.

★½ out of 5