Eleanor Catton at the Cambridge Public Library
in conversation with NINA MACLAUGHLIN
March 7, 2023
6:00 PM ET
(Doors at 5:30pm)
Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138
Harvard Book Store welcomes ELEANOR CATTON—screenwriter and author of international bestseller The Luminaries—for a discussion of her new novel Birnam Wood. She will be joined in conversation by NINA MACLAUGHLIN—local author of Wake Siren: Ovid Resung.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Cambridge Public Library events until further notice:
- Masks are recommended but not required.
- In order to join the signing line, face coverings will be required.
RSVP for free to this event or choose the "Book + Admission" ticket to reserve a copy of the book and pick it up at the event.
About Birnam Wood
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.
Praise for Birnam Wood
“Mysterious and marvelously unpredictable, Birnam Wood had me reading the way I used to as a kid―curiously, desperately and as if it was the whole world. Catton connects to the natural and unnatural ways in which we try to control our environments, our impulses and one another. A spectacular novel, conjured by a virtuoso.” —Rivka Galchen, author of Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch
“What I admired most in Birnam Wood was the way that the rapid violence of the climax rises, all of it, out of the deep, patient, infinitely nuanced character work that comes before. If George Eliot had written a thriller, it might have been a bit like this.” —Francis Spufford, author of Light Perpetual
“A filmic and page-turning thriller―Eleanor Catton weaves a complex and absorbing web of human relationships in which the balance of power is constantly and unpredictably shifting. Hubris and ambition, vanity and greed, principle and expediency, courage and hope―all are here, but not necessarily where you expect to find them.” —Carys Davies, author of The Mission House
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