The Scottish Gallery Book Club - June 2021: The Overstory by Richard Powers

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It's our pleasure to be working in collaboration with The Scottish Gallery to help run The Scottish Gallery Book Club, a literary companion for their monthly event programming.

Each month, the accompanying book will be a complimentary selection for themes and ideas explored within the new exhibition. We invite you, as readers and appreciators of the arts, to read the book and feed back your thoughts to The Scottish Gallery in a direct message on Instagram. They will feature reader responses in their highlights or stories.

This month we have chosen titles to accompany Kate Downie's exhibition Between Seasons (running from 3rd to 26th June 2021). A series of ten tree paintings form the heart of this exhibition. Each painting can be viewed through 180 degrees, with bottom and top image transected by a central horizon line, forming a mirror-like reflection. The trees, which Downie has captured at six-month intervals, move forward and backwards in time, existing in a continual state of transition. Each work is a journey without a beginning or end, a cycle of life, death, and regeneration within which we all play a part.

Our selections for June 2021 are The Overstory by Richard Powers, and By Ash, Oak and Thorn, by Melissa Harrison.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2019, The Overstory explores the relationship between humans and trees. Starting out with stories of individuals and the trees that hold significance for them, culminating in a whole which mirrors the structure of the tree itself. Concentric circles and intertwining branches of plot and character work together to produce an impassioned cry for  humanity to work together with nature.