OF BIRDS AND TREES

"If anything, the intervening dozen years have deepened my desire to close the gap between people and other living things. The Echo Maker dealt in the strange intelligence of birds, an intelligence deep and foreign enough to be invisible to many of us. But it was also a story of forgotten kinship with creatures who have stunning navigational and problem-solving skills, who keep a complex and shared calendar, who gather in great communities and dance together and mate for life and sacrifice themselves for their young. The Overstory may present an even greater challenge to the sense of exceptionalism we humans carry around inside us. It’s the story of immense, long-lived creatures whom many people think of as little more than simple automatons, but who, in fact, communicate and synchronize with each other both over the air and through complex underground networks, who trade with and protect and sustain their own and other species. It’s about immensely social beings with memory and agency who migrate and transform the soil and regulate the weather and create a breathable atmosphere. As the great Le Guin put it, the word for world is forest"

Richard Powers Author of The Overstory and The Echo Maker and other novels

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