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Greenwood (2019)

by Michael Christie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5592643,165 (4.13)50
"It's 2034 and Jake Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich vacationers in one of the world's last remaining forests. It's 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, fallen from a ladder and sprawled on his broken back, calling out from the concrete floor of an empty mansion. It's 1974 and Willow Greenwood is out of jail, free after being locked up for one of her endless series of environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father's once vast and violent timber empire. It's 1934 and Everett Greenwood is alone, as usual, in his maple syrup camp squat when he hears the cries of an abandoned infant and gets tangled up in the web of a crime that will cling to his family for decades. And throughout, there are trees: thrumming a steady, silent pulse beneath Christie's effortless sentences and working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival. A shining, intricate clockwork of a novel, Greenwood is a rain-soaked and sun-dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood and blood--and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light"--… (more)
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English (23)  Dutch (3)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Canada Reads 2023 shortlist ( )
  Dorothy2012 | Apr 22, 2024 |
In 2038, Jake works on Greenwood Island in British Columbia; it’s one of the only truly livable/habitable places left with its giant trees. A biologist, Jake loves living here, though she’s not as enamoured with the job, touring around “Pilgrims” (tourists). Unfortunately, she’s also discovered a couple of trees that appear to be sick; these trees are hundreds of years old.

Her ex-fiance (a lawyer) shows up and books a private tour with her to tell her she might actually “own” the island, given her family history and the history of the island (that is, it may be part of an inheritance for her). The book continues by backing up in time through a few generations of Greenwoods to when Jake’s grandmother was a baby… and one generation earlier in 1908 when Jake’s great-grandfather was a kid (along with his brother). The brothers were very different: Everett ended up a vagrant and in jail; Harris was hugely wealthy via his lumber business, cutting down all the beautiful trees that Jake loves so much.

The bulk of the story followed Harris and Everett and that’s what I liked the best. Have to admit it took a short bit for me to get interested and to figure out what was happening and who the different characters were as we went back in time. I liked the way this one was done: we actually started in 2038, and gradually made our way to 1908 through the generations, then moved forward again back to 2038. ( )
  LibraryCin | Dec 29, 2023 |
I really enjoyed this family saga, spanning over 100 years. Each of the individual stories/time periods was interesting in itself, as well as blended together masterfully. The characters were strong and believable. The only thing I didn't really like was the ending. I thought it left a key issue (the inheritance) hanging unnecessarily.

As a physical object, the book was also a delight, with the edges of the pages shaded to resemble tree bark, and the rings of a tree demonstrating the story's time line. ( )
  LynnB | Mar 24, 2023 |
I have mixed feelings about this book. As I was reading if, I was less than impressed, but as I reached the conclusion, my opinions became considerably more positive.
The writing is good - clear, flowing sentences that read well and convey the sense easily. The characters are mixed and varied and generally believable - although the slippery slope to substance abuse seems very overdone.
I think it is the plot, and the way it is structured in the book, that troubled me. The plot is expansive and made convoluted by the structure of the book - the action takes place at different times over 130 years, with the periods jumbled - some later parts are presented while the details come much later in the book. This led me to be aware of what was going to happen,minus some of the details as to why they happened. This is a fairly standard device, but for some reason, I was less convinced and more annoyed than I should have been by the structure.
But in the end the author brings things to a strong conclusion, and my appreciation grew significantly. ( )
  mbmackay | Mar 13, 2023 |
I just finished this for the 2nd time and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. It is a touching family saga that is woven together expertly and written with style. ( )
  Iudita | Jun 27, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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Important events
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my family
First words
They come for the trees.
Quotations
Buy we rarely get what we want in life, he said, There isn't enough room for it all to fit.
Because even after you cut a piece of wood and lay it straight, it lives on after you're finished, soaking up moisture, twisting, bowing, and warping into unintended forms. Our lives are no different.
There aren't any normal lives, son. That's the lie the hurts us the most.
What if a family isn't a tree at all? Jake thinks as they walk in silence. What if it's more like a forest? A collection of individuals pooling their resources through intertwined roots, sheltering one another from wind and weather and drought.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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"It's 2034 and Jake Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich vacationers in one of the world's last remaining forests. It's 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, fallen from a ladder and sprawled on his broken back, calling out from the concrete floor of an empty mansion. It's 1974 and Willow Greenwood is out of jail, free after being locked up for one of her endless series of environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father's once vast and violent timber empire. It's 1934 and Everett Greenwood is alone, as usual, in his maple syrup camp squat when he hears the cries of an abandoned infant and gets tangled up in the web of a crime that will cling to his family for decades. And throughout, there are trees: thrumming a steady, silent pulse beneath Christie's effortless sentences and working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival. A shining, intricate clockwork of a novel, Greenwood is a rain-soaked and sun-dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood and blood--and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light"--

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