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, secrets, and betrayal that will cling to his family for decades—a saga this novel traces through 2038.
The author broaches every kind of human valor, villainy and vulnerability: drug addiction, forbidden desires and laudable do-gooding, among others. He commands attention not through conservationist pieties but with the way his forest-killers and tree-loving zealots are equally off-kilter and contradiction-filled ... Christie’s description can be superb, whether he’s conjuring clear-cut devastation ... His look ahead to the late 2030s is gloomily wry ... Christie can be over-obvious in setting up his end-of-chapter cliffhangers or drawing human/arboreal parallels ... But there are plenty of visionary moments laced into his shape-shifting narrative.
...with the expert, deft hands of a seasoned carpenter, author Michael Christie carefully and methodically pieces together a story as intricate as the rings within a tree. The result is a deeply compelling novel of family and memory ...Christie creates a sense of poetic, organic symmetry through rich characters and evocative, almost tactile descriptions. Even if readers are sad to leave Jake’s storyline in order to get to know her family, they may become just as captivated by her grandmother, Willow, and the ancestors that come before her ... The structure provides a captivating spine for Greenwood, but what stands out most by the end is the way in which Christie has been able to evoke and give voice to the way the cumulative effect of time and memory weighs on us all in ways both uplifting and terrifying. Greenwood is a towering, profound novel about the things that endure even as the world seems to be moving on.
... even if you’re suffering from what you might call Literary Tree Fatigue, Christie’s novel is worth reading, in part because it’s a clever mash-up of genres that distinguishes itself from its literary cousins and earns its bulk ... broad messages aside, the heart of the novel is a winning and energetic chase story ... When do we choose self-preservation, and when do we choose survival in a broader sense? The question has never gone away, but Greenwood closes with the message that it’s increasingly urgent.