Greenwood is a book that will make you think hard about the environment and your family. I wanted to hug trees and all the members of my family while reading it. It has almost everything you need in a good book: a message, suspense, good writing and good characters.
I can never watch news about wildfires. I just cannot stop crying; thinking about all the trees and animals. So it wasn’t easy for me to read the first chapters in the book. It is 2038 and there no forests in the world anymore. Only a few have left, and they are for the tourists to enjoy for a couple of days. And then the story spirals into other timelines, covering four generations of the Greenwood family. And this is a family you’d like to read more about.
The scariest part of this book is that it is not unrealistic. Our greed will leave us with concrete jungles and poverty only.
‘The truth is that all family lines, from the highest to the lowest, originate somewhere, on some particular day. Even the grandest trees must’ve once been seeds spun helplessly on the wind, and then just meek saplings nosing up from the soil.’
2034. On a remote island off the Pacific coast of British Columbia stands the Greenwood Arboreal Cathedral, one of the world’s last forests. Wealthy tourists flock from all corners of the dust-choked globe to see the spectacle and remember what once was. But even as they breathe in the fresh air and pose for photographs amidst the greenery, ranger Jake knows that the forest is dying, though her bosses won’t admit it.
1908. Two passenger locomotives meet head-on. The only survivors are two young boys, who take refuge in a trapper’s cabin in a forest on the edge of town. In fourteen years, one of them, now a recluse, will find an abandoned baby in that same forest — another child of Greenwood — setting off a series of events that will change the course of his life, and the lives of those around him.
Structured like the rings of a tree, this remarkable novel moves from the future to the present to the past, and back again, to tell the story of one family and their enduring connection to the place that brought them together.
Michael Christie is a Canadian writer, whose debut story collection The Beggar’s Garden was a longlisted nominee for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize and a shortlisted nominee for the 2011 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: