Michael Christie | Greenwood

Reviewed by: Sussan Thomson

You will love diving into this epic novel that centers around our complex relationship with trees.  Even the plot is like a big, noble tree, branching here and there over decades, across Canada and through generations of the Greenwood family.  Some chapters are short, some are long, and some characters occupy much more space than others as the story naturally grows and builds.

The Greenwood family is full of interesting characters, some of whom worship trees and want to protect them, while others mercilessly log and profit from them.  Others craft useful and beautiful things out of wood.  The plot held big surprises for me, and I enjoyed all of the tree lore, tree science, and tree metaphors woven through.

Christie reminds us that trees are royal beings and that is why they have crowns.  It is beautiful how Christie helps connect us to the Canadian landscape as we travel across the country with his characters.  Even more, as his novel moves us through a devastating climate event, he deepens our appreciation for the trees around us.

Christie is a master writer, each sentence a treasure to read and the whole book has an organic rather than formulaic feel, written in a confident, trustworthy voice.

At this pandemic time when we need to help each other, I loved the idea of moving from thinking of family as a tree, to thinking of family as a forest, with each tree having the job of nurturing the others who are kin.

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