Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 315
Adam Appich moves away from his graduate research and into environmental activism. After tragic developments kill one group member, he ends up as the fall guy and is imprisoned for life.
Mimi Mia, a Chinese-American corporate conformist, rejects her ambitious track to save trees in her city. After joining forces with Doug, she moves to the Northwest. After their activist group disbands, she becomes a therapist.
Nick goes to live in the forest and creates art together with local Native American people. They aim to create one magnum opus, a wooden construction so large it is visible from space.
Nicholas Hoel is an artist from Iowa who is deeply affected by the loss of his farm, but builds on his family’s love of a single tree to inspire his own radicalization. Nick teams up with Olivia, renames himself for a tree, and goes to live in its high branches. Following Olivia’s death, he retreats into the woods to make logs into art.
Douglas Pavlicek is a Vietnam War veteran credits his life to landing in a tree. From planting seedlings, he progresses to activism, but after Olivia’s death works for the forest service. He betrays the cause but stays loyal to Mimi by turning his back on Adam, resulting in the younger man’s conviction.
Olivia Vandergriff is almost electrocuted in an accident while high on drugs. Turning her life around, she becomes obsessed with radical environmentalist tactics to save the redwoods. When her group commits arson, she is burned and killed, and then the others hide her body.
Patricia Westerford, a botanist who is hearing-impaired, pioneers unorthodox techniques for understanding plant consciousness. She struggles to prove to conventional scientists that the trees can communicate with each other.
As he vividly distinguishes between individual trees and grapples with the concept that they could have agency, Powers also makes the trees into characters.
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