Birnam Wood
March 12, 2024 7:05 AM - Subscribe

A guerilla gardening collective in New Zealand forges an uneasy alliance with a mysterious American billionaire.
posted by saladin (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This book was an all-timer for me. I can't stop thinking about it. The plotting, the interiority, the careful way in which she uses characters' assumptions about the world and about each other to obfuscate what's coming... a masterpiece. I liked The Luminaries a lot but like a lot of folks I enjoyed the first half quite a bit more than I did the second half. But this book was another thing entirely for me, Coen-esque in the clockwork tragedy of it all, but also perfectly, sublimely rich in it's characterizations.
posted by saladin at 7:11 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]

I read this because I saw it on Obama's summer reading list and it sounded intriguing. It did not disappoint.

I like how the author did extremely deep dives into each character's personal history and state of mind. It took a bit of getting used to at first, but it really helped the whole thing gel when it all came together after the slow burn.
posted by umber vowel at 1:28 PM on March 12

Any chance I would like this if I did NOT like The Luminaries? I'm not here to yuck anyone's yum, so I don't want to go on, but the literary novels I tend to love put the story first and the literary devices take a backseat. saladin, I'm drawn to this book bc you describe it as "Coen-esque in the clockwork tragedy of it all, but also perfectly, sublimely rich in its characterizations." Does it treat women well?
posted by epj at 2:58 PM on March 12

Besides the setting I might not have realized it was by the same author as The Luminaries, so yes I'd definitely think it's worth your time. And yes I also definitely think it treats women well, at least to my eye, quite a bit more so than the "prostitute at the mercy of fate/evil conwoman" dichotomy that you get in The Luminaries.
posted by saladin at 12:36 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your response, saladin! I put it on hold at the library.
posted by epj at 12:11 PM on March 13

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