Hogarth: Crown. Mar. 2020. 528p. ISBN 9781984822000. $28. F
Canadian author Christie (If I Fall, If I Die) dazzles with this richly woven historical tracking five generations of the “trouble-plagued” Greenwood clan and the environmental devastation wrought by its lucrative timber empire. Set across the vast expanse of the North Country provinces, the novel opens in 2038, with dendrologist Jacinda “Jake” Greenwood working as a tour guide for an up-scale retreat on remote Greenwood Island near the Pacific Rim of British Columbia. She’s facing the brutal reality of her ancestral past as evidence surfaces of her potential bloodline connection to the megacorporation Holt, which owns the leafy refuge. To unfold the Greenwood legacy, Christie moves back in time, from 2008 to 1974 to 1934, to, finally, 1908, when a catastrophic head-on train crash brought together survivors Everett and Harris, dubbed the “green wood” boys by the Edmonton community that took them in as orphans. Blind Harris persists and establishes Greenwood Timber, while wartime trauma drives Everett into a life of deep isolation.
VERDICT Giller and IMPAC–nominated Christie should garner the attention he deserves in America with this spellbinding family saga reflecting fiction’s intensifying interest in the climate crisis as well as humanity’s innate desire to make amends for past wrongs and start anew. [See “Seasonal Selections,” LJ 2/20, p. 27.]
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