RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"...his monumental novel The Overstory accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of story, he pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size.... The descriptions of this deeply animate place, including a thunderstorm as experienced from 300 feet up, stand with any prose I’ve ever read. I hesitate to tell more, and spoil the immense effort Powers invests in getting us into that primal forest to bear witness ... The science in this novel ranges from fun fact to mind-blowing, brought to us by characters — some scientists, mostly not — who are sweet or funny or maddening in all the relatable ways. The major players number more than a dozen, all invested with touching humanity, and they arrive with such convincing, fully formed résumés, it’s hard to resist Googling a couple of them to see if they’re real people.\
Karen Joy Fowler
RaveThe New York Times Sunday Book ReviewIn a story with many beginnings, this is the molten core: a family’s implosion with grief. The father becomes a taciturn drunk, his great experiment a debacle. The mother retreats to stricken silence from which she seems no more likely to recover than any mother who’s lost a child. Rosemary’s beloved older brother strikes out bitterly on a path of no return. The children are told that Fern has been sent to a ‘farm’ … The novel’s fresh diction and madcap plot — swapped suitcases, a Madame Defarge ventriloquist’s dummy, lost bikes and drug-laced coed high jinks — bend the tone toward comedy, but it never mislays its solemn raison d’être. Monkeyshines aside, this is a story of Everyfamily in which loss engraves relationships, truth is a soulful stalker and coming-of-age means facing down the mirror, recognizing the shape-shifting notion of self.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewIt’s a rich combination — personhood unconstrained by the acquired prejudices of culture — and the author taps it here with impressive results. He likewise nails single parenthood in all its crowded loneliness and moral angst ... Heroes of the Frontier offers complex, believable characters, but their story lacks the magnetic super-realism of some earlier works.