How does a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about nine people and a very tall tree tell us so much about America, twenty years into a new century? Richard Powers always bases his novels on deep research, and that is certainly true of The Overstory (W.W. Norton, 2019). Each week one member of the group will lead a discussion of a section of the novel, after another member has introduced us to one example of the book’s many underlying concerns. These include the human and economic history of settlement on the Great Plains, tree biology (including the recent suggestion that trees may communicate with one another), nature writing in America after Thoreau, recent conflict and protest over logging in the Northwest, the fragmentation of what used to be called the Counterculture, and the rise of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Weaving the stories together is the overarching theme of the difficulty of self-identity for young people in a nation that is both old and confusingly new. Join us!