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Birnam Wood: A Novel

Birnam Wood: A Novel

"Birnam Wood is a struggling anarchist farming collective looking for a home.  When what seems like a natural disaster cuts off a small New Zealand town from the rest of the world they think they might have found one. There's only one problem, an American tech billionaire also has plans for the area. At first it seems as if both groups can get what they want, but after a tragic accident, things go sideways fast and it quickly becomes apparent that their two ways of seeing the world are mutually exclusive.  I'm not sure I would call it a thriller, but it's definitely a page turner with an ending that no one will see coming."

Brad L.

See all my recommendations »

Author Eleanor Catton
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date 2023-03-07
Section New Hardcover - Fiction
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9780374110338

The Booker Prize–winning author of The Luminaries brings us Birnam Wood, a gripping thriller of high drama and kaleidoscopic insight into what drives us to survive.

Birnam Wood is on the move . . .

Five years ago, Mira Bunting founded a guerrilla gardening group: Birnam Wood. An undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic gathering of friends, this activist collective plants crops wherever no one will notice: on the sides of roads, in forgotten parks and neglected backyards. For years, the group has struggled to break even. Then Mira stumbles on an answer, a way to finally set the group up for the long term: a landslide has closed the Korowai Pass, cutting off the town of Thorndike. Natural disaster has created an opportunity, a sizable farm seemingly abandoned.

But Mira is not the only one interested in Thorndike. Robert Lemoine, an enigmatic American billionaire, has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker—or so he tells Mira when he catches her on the property. Intrigued by Mira, Birnam Wood, and their entrepreneurial spirit, he suggests they work this land. But can they trust him? And, as their ideals and ideologies are tested, can they trust each other?

A gripping psychological thriller from the Booker Prize–winning author of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton’s Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its drama, Austenian in its wit, and, like both influences, fascinated by what makes us who we are. A brilliantly constructed study of intentions, actions, and consequences, it is a mesmerizing, unflinching consideration of the human impulse to ensure our own survival.

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