Thursday, June 20, 2024

Choices that End Poorly

Birnam Wood
Birnam Wood 

“...the real choices that you make in your life, the really difficult, defining choices are never between what's right and what's easy. They're between what's wrong and what's hard.”   ― Eleanor Catton, Birnam Wood

Birnam Wood is a group of guerilla gardeners that Mira Bunting founded five years ago. Set in New Zealand, this activist collective, an unregistered, uncontrolled, occasionally criminal, occasionally charitable group of friends, plants crops wherever no one will see them: on the sides of roads, in abandoned parks, and in 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. A natural disaster has created an opportunity; a sizable farm is seemingly abandoned.

But Mira is not the only one interested in Thorndike. When he sees Mira on the property, mysterious American billionaire Robert Lemoine tells her that he has taken it to build his end-of-the-world bunker. Intrigued by Mira, Birnam Wood, and their entrepreneurial spirit, he suggests they work this land. But are they able to put their trust in him? Can they trust one another as their beliefs and ideals are put to the test?

A psychological thriller from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton's Birnam Wood, left me wondering if it was worth the time I took to read it. I was not surprised by the ending in general and found some of its main characters preditable. Neither the protagonist nor her antagonist were particularly believable. I barely found the story engaging enough to finish the novel. I cannot recommend this novel to any intelligent reader.


Stephen said...

I like the premise. Ed Abbey would approve of guerilla gardening..

James said...

It was an interesting read for, among other things, the tension between the ecophile heroine and the evil billionaire.