Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Richard Powers

Richard Powers's newest novel is The Overstory.

From his Los Angeles Times Q&A with Patt Morrison:

It's a novel about people and trees, so I’ll ask you about the seed, the germination for this book.

It actually started here in California. I was living in Palo Alto, and it's quite a crazy place. On the one hand, you're right in the heart of Silicon Valley, and up on the other side was the Santa Cruz Mountains, a second-growth redwood forest. And I would head up there to escape Silicon Valley.

I guess I was walking up there under the redwoods one day, and it's a spectacular thing. I think anybody who's walked even in a second-growth redwood forest feels that sense that it's like being in an enormous, enormous cloister.

And I came across an uncut tree, and I had been marveling at these redwoods. What a redwood can do in a hundred years is incredible, but when you let them go a thousand years, it seems like something from another world altogether.

In front of this thousand-year-old tree which was as wide as a house and as tall as a football field, I had a sense of what these mountains must have looked like before we got to them. They were cut down to build San Francisco a couple of times, and it occurred to me that Silicon Valley was down there because these forests were up here. There was some kind of link that had never been really made explicit to me. That long relationship, that dependency, and the war between people and trees, felt very, very powerful and very dramatic.

And I felt the need to...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue