Books·Canada Reads 2023

Greenwood by Michael Christie

A multigenerational family story about our relationship with nature and each other. Actor and filmmaker Keegan Connor Tracy will champion Greenwood on Canada Reads 2023.

A multigenerational family story about our relationship with nature and each other

A book cover featuring a green filtered photo of a lush forest.

They come for the trees. It is 2038. As the rest of humanity struggles through the environmental collapse known as the Great Withering, scientist Jake Greenwood is working as an overqualified tour guide on Greenwood Island, a remote oasis of thousand-year-old trees. Jake had thought the island's connection to her family name just a coincidence, until someone from her past reappears with a book that might give her the family history she's long craved.

From here, we gradually move backwards in time to the years before the First World War, encountering along the way the men and women who came before Jake: an injured carpenter facing the possibility of his own death, an eco-warrior trying to atone for the sins of her father's rapacious timber empire, a blind tycoon with a secret he will pay a terrible price to protect and a Depression-era drifter who saves an abandoned infant from certain death, only to find himself the subject of a country-wide manhunt. At the very centre of the book is a tragedy that will bind the fates of two boys together, setting in motion events whose reverberations we see unfold over generations, as the novel moves forward into the future once more.

A magnificent novel of inheritance, sacrifice, nature and love that takes its structure from the nested growth rings of a tree, Greenwood spans generations to tell the story of a family living and dying in the shadows cast by its own secrets. With this breathtaking feat of storytelling, Michael Christie masterfully reveals the tangled knot of lies, omissions and half-truths that exists at the root of every family's origin story. (From McClelland ​​​​​​& Stewart)

Greenwood will be championed by actor and filmmaker Keegan Connor Tracy on Canada Reads 2023.

The Canada Reads debates will take place on March 27-30. This year, we are looking for one book to shift your perspective. 

They will be hosted by Ali Hassan and will be broadcast on CBC Radio OneCBC TVCBC Gem and on CBC Books

LISTEN | Michael Christie reacts to making the Canada Reads longlist:

The story behind ‘Greenwood’ unfolds like the growth rings of a tree—spanning generations and revealing, layer by layer, one family's secrets. We hear from Thunder Bay author Michael Christie about ‘Greenwood’ and his CBC Canada Reads longlist selection.

Greenwood was on the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist and won the 2020 Arthur Ellis Award (now the Canadian Crime Writing Awards) for best novel. CBC Books named Greenwood one of the best works of Canadian fiction in 2019.

Michael Christie is a novelist currently living in Victoria. His 2011 short story collection The Beggar's Garden won the Vancouver Book Award and was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His 2015 novel If I Fall, If I Die won the Northern Lit Award and was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Why Michael Christie wrote Greenwood

"I was thinking of the idea of a bloodline and wanted to complicate the idea of a family tree. The whole book is an extended metaphor of a family tree.

"Genealogy isn't a simple story. In my own personal life and experience, families are built much more than they are born. Looking back into your ancestors, all those people have a name and story of their own. There are so many stories to be told in family history. So the narrative in the book is structured in that way.

Genealogy isn't a simple story. In my own personal life and experience, families are built much more than they are born.- Michael Christie

"I did a lot of reading about the Great Depression in Canada and the Canadian timber and farming industries. I also looked at the early days of the environmental conservation movement, particularly in British Columbia. I looked at a wide array of books to build this big world. 

"I was thinking more cinematically than ever before in writing this book. I didn't write it as a screenplay but I was certainly aware of moving the story in a cinematic way."

Read more in his interview with CBC Books.

 More interviews with Michael Christie

Author Michael Christie is in Cape Breton for a book reading and will do a writing workshop at Cape Breton University.
Michael Christie is a professional skateboarder, turned award-winning author from Thunder Bay. His brand new book hits shelves today.
Michael Christie's first novel, "If I Fall, If I Die" centres around a preteen named Will and his mother's mental illness.

Other books by Michael Christie

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