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Birnam Wood
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
151 posts | 98 read | 2 reading | 79 to read
A gripping psychological thriller from Eleanor Catton, the Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries, Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its wit, drama, and immersion in character. A brilliantly constructed consideration of intentions, actions, and consequences, it is an unflinching examination of the human impulse to ensure our own survival. 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?
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review
Becker
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

I was pre- conditioned to like this because The Luminaries is my favourite book. This is no Luminaries but it‘s good in it‘s own way. I really enjoy Catton‘s writing. ✍🏽

BarbaraBB I felt the same about both books 4w
Cathythoughts I loved Birnam Wood. But bailed on Luminaries. 4w
Tamra I really need to try this one given the Litsy love. I did not particularly like Luminaries though. 🤷🏾‍♀️ 4w
40 likes1 stack add3 comments
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mcctrish
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

I finally finished my February #foodandlit pick. OMG what a wild ride this thriller is! Thank you for picking New Zealand so I had to get my ass in gear and get this off my TBR

AmyG Wasn‘t it great? Loved the ending. 4mo
mcctrish @AmyG it was SO GOOD!!! I finished and immediately shoved it in my husband‘s face and said you need to read this 4mo
59 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Creadnorthey
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

Ooooo this is villainous through and through! Loved how Catton used the points of view to create the tragic misunderstandings and devil-in-the-details confusion, both of which allowed for psychotic manipulation and more innocent yet misguided motivations of character which made this so fun to read!

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mcctrish
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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I keep forgetting about New Zealand. I‘m going to try and get this read before February ends so I can start my South Korea read. These prompts are helping me knock some books off my TBR 😘😘😘 #foodandlit

Catsandbooks You got this! 🙌🏼 🇳🇿 4mo
mcctrish @Catsandbooks 😘😘 4mo
Texreader I‘ll be interested to see how you like this one. 4mo
mcctrish @Texreader I did love The Luminaries but you had to finish it to feel that way I think 4mo
Texreader @mcctrish I loved Luminaries! But yea it really had to come together 4mo
46 likes1 stack add5 comments
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rachaich
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

Godd grief, epic and exciting and totally gripping.
Unpredictable.
Brilliant!

BarbaraBB Yes!🙌🏽 4mo
22 likes1 comment
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Creadnorthey
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Ah-ha! The villain amongst us!

The_Book_Ninja I was thinking Donald Trump but it says genius 4mo
Creadnorthey 😂 4mo
13 likes2 comments
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yourfavouritemixtape
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Mehso-so

Another one for this month‘s #foodandlit Had this on my TBR for quite some time. It felt a bit like cheating, though, as I started an audiobook which turned out to be an abridged version. I only noticed when I was already too deep into the story to start again.

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BookishTrish
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

With the snow here in Vancouver, I‘ve been tearing through books. Started this one on Saturday expecting it to last the week, but I quite simply couldn‘t put it down. The reviews calling it a Shakespearean thriller are spot on. So so good.

AmyG I loved this one, too. The ending!!! 🙌🏻 5mo
BarbaraBB I loved it too! 5mo
48 likes2 comments
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Centique
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

(More gratuitous summer holiday photos!)
I had low expectations for this book. I loved The Luminaries and the idea this was a thriller didnt thrill me. Well gosh darn and blimey, i loved this too!
Catton skewers and dissects a number of people‘s ideologies and political discourse as she builds her characters backgrounds - not in a dismissive “theyre totally wrong” way i felt - more as if challenging everyone to go deeper, to debate ⬇️

Centique & to be unafraid to disagree. And then the thriller takes off and personality/belief differences are thrown into stark relief by something much larger & darker. It was a wild ride towards the end! 5mo
Ruthiella Great review. This book was a wild ride for sure! 5mo
BarbaraBB Fantastic review! I was afraid too after The Luminaries but man, did she deliver again ❤️ 5mo
batsy Nice review! It's a book that remains pretty vivid in my mind. 5mo
Centique @Ruthiella @BarbaraBB @batsy thanks everyone - im sure it was your positive reviews that made me try this one 💕 5mo
72 likes5 comments
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erzascarletbookgasm
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

I found the first part slow, bogged down by the characters‘ backgrounds, motivations and philosophical ideals, which I later understood were essential to the story. It required much concentration; such long sentences, and I was out of air by the end of most paragraphs. I almost bailed out, but I was determined not to, on my first read of the year. Chapter 2 onwards it shifted full gear..it was tense and I was at the edge of my seat…⬇️

erzascarletbookgasm It turned out to be quite a ride, I imagine it played out as an action thriller. And the startling conclusion! It also reminds me a bit of Bel Canto. I enjoyed this! 5mo
Cathythoughts Great review 🩷 I loved this book too. 5mo
AmyG I also loved this one. Great ending! 5mo
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sarahbarnes Great review! Agreed. 5mo
Ruthiella Yes, this does take a while to get going but then WHOOSH! 👍 5mo
BarbaraBB Agreeing with all of you! Such a great read. I am glad you did think so too Jessie! 5mo
squirrelbrain Great review! I agree, the first chapter was a slog but I‘m glad I persevered as the rest of the book was fabulous. 5mo
youneverarrived Great review 🩵 agree with it all! 5mo
74 likes8 comments
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AmyG
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Apparently we are at day #6.

#12Booksof2023 @Andrew65

Andrew65 On my TBR 🫣 6mo
Deblovestoread Great book! 6mo
BarbaraBB One of my 12 favorites too of course 😀 6mo
43 likes4 comments
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BarbaraBB
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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#12daysofchristmas #12booksof2023

My favorite book of April. I have already spend many words on it. I know reviews are very mixed but to me this was really such an outstanding eco thriller and much more than that.

AmyG Agreed. And the ending was just amazing. 6mo
Andrew65 I need to check this out! 6mo
Hooked_on_books I really liked it, too! 6mo
57 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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dabbe
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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@AmyG ... you said I could open this now or wait, and my husband said, “NOW!“ so I opened it. Thank you, dear friend. This book has been high on my radar and will be my 1st read once #WinterGames is over. I love the notepad, too. Do you think it will help me stay organized? 🤔 I hope so! I know you have the Christmas advent calendar, yet I also with you a heartfelt Happy Hanukkah! 💜🕎💜

AmyG You are so welcome. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did! And thank you for the calendar and Hanukkah wishes. 😘 6mo
dabbe @AmyG 💙❄️💙 6mo
AllDebooks I loved Birnam Wood, one sitting x 6mo
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AmyG @AllDebooks The ending. So good 6mo
AllDebooks @AmyG absolutely 💯 6mo
dabbe @AllDebooks @AmyG So excited! 🤩🤩🤩 6mo
56 likes6 comments
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Karisa
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Mehso-so

Interesting book set in New Zealand with worlds colliding (an American billionaire meets an eco-farming collective meets an aristocrat). This book has elements of techno-thriller (drones tracking every move) and lots of political philosophizing (a la Ayn Rand).

The first part was a bit dry. Then the story really got going. Then it went off the rails and landed in batshit crazytown. Can‘t say that I loved it or hated it, but it kept my attention!

GondorGirl I have this one on my shelf... I think I need to move it up the list! 9mo
57 likes1 comment
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Kazzie
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
Pickpick

Well written! Not how I imagined the ending, but considered another way, I don‘t know if a different ending would have been better. The nature of the tale is so big, that to blow everything up seems right. The scary and strange view into the super rich and powerful was unsettling

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ImperfectCJ
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Camille is a little judgy about the fact that it's taking me months to read this book (or maybe she just wants me to put down my phone and pet her already, what does a cat have to do to get a little ear scratch around here?).

LiteraryinLawrence Maybe she‘s excited that she matches your book! 😋 9mo
LiteraryinLawrence And that the author is Cat-ton… ok, stopping now, promise 9mo
ImperfectCJ @LiteraryinLawrence Excellent point! 9mo
64 likes3 comments
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youneverarrived
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

Forgot to take a photo of this one before it went back to the library but wow what a ride - it started off fairly slow as we‘re introduced to the characters and then it went somewhere I wasn‘t expecting. I would have loved to have discussed this one with #camplitsy as there‘s a lot to it. Really enjoyed it.

Suet624 I was disappointed with the ending. 9mo
squirrelbrain Ah, it‘s a shame you couldn‘t read it for #camplitsy - we had some great discussions. It‘s one of my favourites of the year. 9mo
youneverarrived @Suet624 I read it a while ago and actually forgot how it ended - but I googled it and yeah, I was disappointed with it too - probably why I forgot 😆 9mo
youneverarrived @squirrelbrain I bet! All my holds seemed to come in a few weeks after the camp litsy books had been read 😐 9mo
57 likes4 comments
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BittersweetBooks
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Like, no one ever actually knows what the right thing to do is. I mean, you can think that you know what‘s right, and you can tell yourself that you know, but at the point that you make your choice, like, in the moment, you‘re never really certain. You just hope. 🌱🍄🌲

SamAnne As an environmental activist, I had all the feels for this book. 9mo
26 likes1 stack add1 comment
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mom_of_4
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Currently reading.

SamAnne Loved this one. 10mo
AmyG I loved this one, too. 10mo
40 likes1 stack add2 comments
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janeycanuck
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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I have been SUCH a good girl about not buying books but no one is perfect.

Ruthiella That teeny tiny pile? It‘s practically NOTHING compared to all the books you didn‘t buy! 😂 10mo
marleed I agree with @Ruthiella. Btw, her logic works well for me when applied to cinnamon rolls, as well! 10mo
Amiable @marleed Ha ha! I like the way you think! 😀 10mo
janeycanuck @Ruthiella @marleed @Amiable I have found my people. 10mo
46 likes4 comments
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quietlycuriouskate
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

Well that escalated! (I mean, guerilla gardening collective + (apparent) billionaire prepper was never going to = sunshine and lollipops... but, holy crap!) This doesn't have the intriguing convolutions of "The Luminaries" but then it's a much quicker read. It's dark and tense and really rather good.

sarahbarnes I liked this one too. Although Luminaries is still my favorite. 10mo
SamAnne One of my favorite books of the year. Very much want to read her other novels now. 10mo
lynneamch Holy crap, is right! Just finished. Still buzzing. Great read. 👍 10mo
42 likes3 comments
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AlizaApp
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

An environmentalist action group and a wealthy and paranoid developer clash at a nearly inaccessible New Zealand farm. Well-written as always but I did not love it as much as The Luminaries.

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Megbert
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

A right ripping tale awash with politics, psychotic billionaires, virtue signaling conservationists and kiwi identity. It has humour, pace and wonderful character development. Such a fun (and sadly on point) read, I look forward to seeing this developed for the screen.

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quietlycuriouskate
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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#libraryhaul ?

I'd reserved "Birnam Wood". The others just flew into my arms as I was passing.

TheBookHippie I love flying books. 11mo
batsy Nice stack. I have the Moshfegh (still unread) and have had Yoko Owada's Revenge on the TBR for too long! 11mo
batsy *Ogawa, that is 🙈 11mo
sarahbarnes This is a great stack! 11mo
39 likes5 comments
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ImperfectCJ
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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I finally figured out why I haven't been able to find Birnam Wood on audio. I can see not allowing it to be purchased from elsewhere, but not in libraries either? Not cool at all.

Soubhiville I hate Amazon. They‘ve got exclusive rights to a bunch of audiobooks. 11mo
jlhammar Yes, very frustrating! I really want my husband to be able to listen to this one (I did print), but we pretty much stick to the library (Libby) for audiobooks. 11mo
42 likes2 comments
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Decalino
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

Mira is looking for a likely patch of land for her gardening collective, Birnam Wood, to sow crops when she encounters secretive American billionaire Robert Lemoine. Unbeknownst to most of its members, Birnam Wood becomes entwined in the plots and plans of a man who shares exactly none of their values. A good reminder not to leave the world's fate in the hands of billionaires, and an ending that's all too Shakespearean.

SamAnne One of my favorite reads this year! Oh, it hit home for me as a long time conservation activist. 11mo
28 likes1 comment
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JenP
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this. I bought the print copy, read half as print and then lost the print copy and since I had lots of audible credits, I finished it as an audio book. I find Catton to be a brilliant writer and I enjoy her style. This book was more action packed than her prior books but similarly dense with some interesting political/philosophical discussions. It‘s on my Booker prediction list

SamAnne Absolutely loved this one. 11mo
29 likes1 comment
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Bookish.SAM
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

Holy 💩!!!

That ending was NOT what I was expecting from a book about guerrilla gardeners!

🤯

LaraReads It was wackadoodle, huh?! 😅 And omg what a cute kitty! Matches perfectly! 😻 11mo
Bookish.SAM Haha @LaraReads gotta love when your book matched your cat! But also… right?!? What a wild ending 😱 11mo
squirrelbrain The ending threw me completely - I couldn‘t work out if I loved it or hated it. In fact, I‘m still not sure! 11mo
Bookish.SAM @squirrelbrain agreed! With a few pages left I could not figure how it was going to wrap up. That was not it! But you have a good point about love or hate…. definitely surprising but was it satisfying?? 🤔 11mo
Ruthiella Amazing cat to book cover coordination! 😹 11mo
41 likes5 comments
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Larkken
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Slowly making my way through this #camplitsy pick! Glad I‘m getting to it, even if I couldn‘t participate in the conversations!

BarbaraBB You can always read them afterwards. They added a lot of insights for me! 11mo
Larkken @BarbaraBB that‘s the plan! Reading books with others‘ insights is always better than alone 🥰 11mo
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BeckyWithTheGoodBooks
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

This ecological novel about a guerrilla gardening group that falls in with a billionaire is a scathing look at morality, capitalism, and what it means to “do good.” Both thriller and satire, Catton weaves a smart, character-driven novel with a lot to say. A bit slow to start, but the tension and plot ramp up in the remaining 2/3. The characters are insufferable, but her wit and pacing compels you to see this through to the cliffhanger ending. 4⭐️

SamAnne One of my favorites if the year! 11mo
BeckyWithTheGoodBooks @samanne It definitely grew on me! 😀 11mo
32 likes2 comments
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ImperfectCJ
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Not much reading happening around here lately, but I did manage to update my first line journal. I'm having a lot of trouble getting into the tagged novel. I've picked it up and put it down dozens of times over the past month plus, and I really suspect that if I had a block of two uninterrupted hours, it would click for me. Alas, two uninterrupted hours is a rare and precious commodity these days.

CatLass007 I had a hard time getting into it at first, and had to set it aside for a couple of weeks. There‘s a lot of set up at the beginning. It does get better. 11mo
TheBookgeekFrau I love the journal idea!! 11mo
BarbaraBB I‘m sorry you‘ve been so busy. It‘s a book I think you‘ll like once your past those first pages! 11mo
51 likes3 comments
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AmyG
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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1.Tagged Book
2. Haven‘t read one
3. Yellowface
4. The Vaster Wilds - Lauren Groff
5. Fifty Words for Rain
6. Remarkably Bright Creatures
7. For me…Claire Keegan (Foster)
8. Patrick…the Guncle
9. Foster
10. The Guncle
11. Foster
12. Kristen Lavransdattar Book 3

#MidYearBookFreakout

Come play! Thanks for the tag @Bklover

CBee Yes! Patrick 💚💚💚💚 12mo
Bklover ❤️❤️ 12mo
55 likes2 comments
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Larkken
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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July is my month of read-alongs and playing catch-up! While I enjoyed/needed a couple weeks of mindless comfort binging (apparently) I am also happy to be back in good graces with the library, who finally delivered Birnam Wood for me to read on Friday (excited to see what everyone else thought of it anyway, lol - #camplitsy is always a fun book discussion and I‘m sure BW won‘t disappoint!).
#bookspin #roll100 #sundaybudyread #juneofarc

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 12mo
21 likes1 comment
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Ruthiella
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

The second book for #CampLitsy23 . A leftist collective in New Zealand becomes entangled with a US capitalist billionaire. Misadventure ensues. What is this really about? Overweening ambition? Left vs Right wing politics? The end of humanity at the hands of humanity? I‘m not sure. Catton is a really smart writer, IMO. I think I like her because she is like a 21st century version of the Victorian author - so much detail and social commentary.

merelybookish Great review and observation. Much better at it than Kingslover imo. 12mo
Ruthiella @merelybookish In the #CampLitsy23 discussion, some campers felt Catton was too heavy handed. But I didn‘t feel that. I‘ve not read Demon Copperhead but the two Kingsolver books I have read felt way more heavy handed. I always feel like Kingsolver doesn‘t trust the reader enough to “get it” unless she really underscores it in the text. I didn‘t feel that at all about Catton. She‘s more like a god, letting her creations damn themselves. 12mo
merelybookish @Ruthiella Demon Copperhead is what I was thinking of. It is trying - openly - to be Dickensian. But heavy headed indeed. I thought Catton made everyone pretty complicated and complicit. 12mo
See All 7 Comments
BarbaraBB I so agree wit your review and your thoughts on both Catton and Kingsolver! 12mo
batsy Nice call on the 21st-century version of a Victorian author! There's definitely that. The early parts also reminded me of Austen in how she used free indirect discourse to shed light on character. 12mo
Ruthiella @BarbaraBB I generally agree with Kingsolver‘s social politics, so I don‘t quite understand why it bothers me when she belabors them in her novels, but it does. 🤔 (edited) 12mo
Ruthiella @batsy Thanks. I was wondering why Catton worked for me where other writers don‘t…you may have hit it on the head! 👍 12mo
72 likes7 comments
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mjtwo
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

9-28 Jun 23
Took a while to get into, but I flew through the last two thirds. Helps to have finished work and be relaxing by a pool in Bali.
None of the characters were likeable but they were well-written and interesting, and I enjoyed their many flaws. Everyone has their price.
If it had been otherwise, I would have been hoping for an alternate ending. I have read some reviews suggesting it was a tragedy but I saw the ending as more of a farce.

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SailorJohn
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
Pickpick

Intriguing story. You are never quite sure where the story is headed. If I say more I will spoil it

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DebinHawaii
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

Read for #CampLitsy23 June, Book 2. I‘m giving it a soft pick. The beginning was a bit of a slog for me, but the ending, while not completely satisfying, still slapped with how shocking it was & it had me staying up late to read the last 150 pages or so in one sitting as I couldn‘t put it down at that point. I need to reread Macbeth as it‘s been decades & I didn‘t get many of the references & also I like (okay *NEED*) chapters-preferably short ⬇️

DebinHawaii …ones to fully enjoy a book & I so wanted an epilogue. Honestly, I would not probably have made it past the slow beginning without the buddy read format & discussion hosted by the always fantastic @BarbaraBB but it compelled me. While I feel like I have more reasons why it wasn‘t a favorite read than I do for it being a pick, in the end it has kept me thinking since I finished it earlier in the week & that big ending, so there you have it! 🤔😱😆 (edited) 12mo
Megabooks Great review! An epilogue definitely would‘ve been nice. 12mo
DebinHawaii @Megabooks Can you tell I have mixed feelings?! 😂 Yes, I wanted something like an outsider perspective of what they thought happened at the crime scene & to know if the story got out & Tony lived, etc. 12mo
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Megabooks Right?? So many unanswered questions!! 12mo
JamieArc @DebinHawaii I really wanted an outsider perspective after the fact as well! 12mo
BarbaraBB Such a great review. Thank you 🩷 12mo
squirrelbrain I‘d have loved an epilogue as well…too many unanswered questions for me. 12mo
55 likes7 comments
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CatLass007
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

I just finished this so I wasn‘t able to join in the discussion for #CampLitsy23. It started out slow and that seemed to last for at least the first quarter of the book. It got more interesting after that. I was really surprised at the ending. It was satisfying and unsatisfying. I‘m not sure exactly what I mean when I say that. I guess I‘m going to have to give that a lot more thought.

LaraReads I totally get what you are saying, even though I don‘t really know how to explain it either. It was a good book, but I just can‘t fully get behind the ending. Tough to explain. 12mo
Megabooks I agree with the satisfying/unsatisfying mix. It was an interesting book. 12mo
CatLass007 @LaraReads Thanks. It‘s good to know that I‘m not alone in my “confusion.” That is the only word I can think of to describe the way I feel about this book. What is your beautiful kitty cat‘s name? 12mo
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CatLass007 @Megabooks thanks to you too. And what is your sweet little wiener dog‘s name? 12mo
Megabooks Molly! Thanks for asking! 💜 She‘s a beagle/dachshund mix…we think. 🤔 the shelter didn‘t know her background. 12mo
CatLass007 @Megabooks My brother has a dog that‘s part dachshund and part something else. But they‘re not sure what either. I don‘t really see the beagle in your dog but that‘s only because it‘s such a small picture. I have a cat named Molly. 12mo
LaraReads @CatLass007 awww…that‘s my “sweet” Noelle. Quotations because she‘s a princess & she knows it & can get away with murder. 😹 12mo
CatLass007 @LaraReads Sounds like a typical cat to me. Molly is queen of this house, and lets everyone who lives here or visits know it. And in addition to me, the only ones who live here are my three other cats. They all have such different personalities. Benjamin is just my little love bug. I he is stuck to me like Velcro no matter how hot it is in this house. But he‘s afraid of strangers. Anjali is just the opposite. (cont)⬇️ 12mo
CatLass007 Everyone who comes in to this house must be greeted with kisses and scent marking. Her litter mate, Tiberius, is just a big old baby. He doesn‘t realize how strong is and he doesn‘t realize how rough he is with the other cats. And I am the most fortunate woman on this planet to have such marvelous babies. 12mo
LaraReads @CatLass007 you definitely are! They are just the best & make life worthwhile. I have 5 myself & take care of 3 other community cats outdoors and volunteer with a cat rescue, so I am all aboard on loving the kitties! 12mo
LaraReads And I love all the personalities you described! They really are all so different, huh? 😻 12mo
CatLass007 @LaraReads After living in this house for over three years, I think they are finally feeling like this is their home. Molly is doing a lot more climbing, Tiberius is being more affectionate with me, Molly is even letting Anjali spend a little time with me every once in a while. The only one who hasn‘t had a change in personality is Benjamin. He‘s always been my cuddle bug. Actually, it‘s not so much of a change as a return to previous behaviors. 12mo
squirrelbrain The ending was a complete shock to me! 12mo
52 likes14 comments
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jenniferw88
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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#bookreport @Cinfhen

Finished BW and I Am What I Am
Started and finished Galatea
Continued Count (17 issues left!)
Hibernated Redcoat
Started The New Climate War

Cinfhen How was the Madeline Miller? 12mo
jenniferw88 @Cinfhen to use your words, #moremehthanyeah 😂😂😂 12mo
Cinfhen Hahaha 😘 12mo
48 likes3 comments
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LaraReads
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Mehso-so

😲🤯😳☹️ My face during the second half of this book. Have to work this morning, so will read through the #camplitsy23 discussions as soon as I can. But this book. I don‘t even know where to begin. I couldn‘t really root for any of the characters to be the one to come out on top. I didn‘t really like the ending. It just left me overall dissatisfied. But it was interesting, well written, and kept a good pace. So… 🤷🏻‍♀️

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BarbaraBB
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Question 3 of 3

With this question we‘re finishing our June reads. We‘ll get back to you later today to vote for your favorite #CampLitsy2023 read in June! Stay tuned 😀

See All 60 Comments
Bookwormjillk I don‘t know. The left wingers weren‘t great either. They weren‘t evil in the way the billionaire was, but they weren‘t really endearing either. In the end it was only Lady D that seemed somewhat reasonable. But like I said in question 1 I think some of this went over my head. 12mo
GatheringBooks Not sure about “left wingers” being good - both mira and tony were pretty unsympathetic and unlikeable to me. Lols. 12mo
DGRachel It wasn‘t a straightforward good vs bad, unless you are looking at it from BW‘s perspective. Both sides were pretty awful. I wouldn‘t say there‘s any obligation to be subtle, but I found the preachy tone regarding the sinister nature of capitalism to be too heavy handed for my tastes. 12mo
Laughterhp Yeah, I definitely agree with @DGRachel both sides were pretty awful. I didn‘t find anyone likeable in this book and I definitely skimmed over some of the heavy political talk. 12mo
JamieArc I‘m not sure what the duty of the author is, but this did not feel like an obvious good versus bad to me. Even the those who could be considered good (maybe unnamed BW members) are muddied a bit. 12mo
ChaoticMissAdventures I agree @DGRachel and @Laughterhp it was all a bit too heavy handed for me also. Everyone was so annoying! (edited) 12mo
ChaoticMissAdventures I read this as an arc months ago, I spent most of the novel not knowing where it was going, and arguing with myself about putting it down because I was not enjoying it, so I didn't see the ending coming. I don't think in the end we get Billionaires are bad, left-wing is good, I think they all end up looking pretty awful, but a bit human too. I was left wishing there was someone I could root for a bit more, I didn't even like Lady D 12mo
Cuilin @ChaoticMissAdventures I completely agree. There was no one to root for. I‘m probably in the minority of not liking this novel at all the except maybe the ending. 12mo
Julsmarshall I had a hard time liking any of that characters too. Billionaires are definitely bad but so are many of these self absorbed, short sighted, and not nearly as smart as they think they are. 12mo
jenniferw88 No-one comes out well at the end, but capitalism comes out worse (and is dealt with too heavy-handily) 12mo
ChaoticMissAdventures @Cuilin I don't think you are in the minority. I also didn't enjoy most of the book, and felt the last 100ish pages was the best of it. It was much too slow going for my tastes, and I have seen others agree! 12mo
Leniverse I didn't like anybody in this book, but at least some of them had their heart in the right place. I don't think a novel has a duty to be or do anything, but I would have certainly liked it better if it had more subtlety (or any subtlety at all). 12mo
Megabooks Like many others have said, I didn‘t feel as much sympathy for BW as the author seemed to have wanted. Guerrilla gardening is a cool concept, but the organization was fraught with issues threatening to break it apart. That was the interesting part to me. That internal struggle in BW and in each of its members. But I‘m such a fan of character-driven novels! 😂😂 and I‘m not a fan of moralizing in novels. Messy is better! 12mo
CBee Nobody was really redeemed here. Definitely not black and white! More like what you get when you mix all of the colors together 😂 12mo
squirrelbrain Maybe that could be a new genre @CBee - a muddy khaki kind of book! 🤣 12mo
CBee @squirrelbrain 😂😂😂 I don‘t know if I could take it 🤪 12mo
squirrelbrain @ChaoticMissAdventures @DGRachel @Laughterhp - I agree, it was rather didactic in places. (Even though I loved it!) 12mo
CBee @Megabooks I will say that Shelley was a character I rooted for. But then, we don‘t ever know what happened to her! She drove off and…. What then? So many guesses as to what could‘ve happened with her story. 12mo
batsy I don't think it was so clear-cut; maybe my biggest criticism of the book is that it makes everyone out to be motivated by ego, which is interesting in a novel, but doesn't really translate well into imagining political change. A novel doesn't have to do that, of course. But it also feels like a cautionary tale; if you really want to see change in the world like Mira & co., you should have some principles left to cling onto I guess! 12mo
Jess The mission of Birnam Wood drove me nuts. I work in public land compliance and am amazed (and horrified) with what people think they can do on land that is not theirs. From that perspective, there are no good players in this novel. While secretly mining a national park is much much worse than covertly planting a garden on someone else‘s property, both are exploitive. 12mo
sarahbarnes Like many others have said, I don‘t think it was a clear case of good vs. evil. I think Catton did a fabulous job of depicting how humans are all flawed, and even for people doing what they believe is in service of a greater good, their egos can get in the way. I see this often working in the nonprofit world. 12mo
sarahbarnes Thanks so much for hosting another fabulous discussion this month!! 🤍 12mo
Cinfhen @Cuilin the more I think about this novel, the more I realize I didn‘t really enjoy it either. Im glad I read it with this wonderful group of readers but I don‘t think I‘ll attempt to read this author again. 12mo
Cinfhen Thanks so much for hosting @BarbaraBB it was a FABULOUS month!!!! 12mo
Cinfhen And thanks to the co- counselors @Megabooks @squirrelbrain xx (edited) 12mo
LaraReads Agree with everyone above. I didn‘t like any of them really. Nobody that deserved any redemption in my eyes. But I still would have liked to see someone come out on top. Even with Lady D dying (maybe?) at the end, I just would have liked to see someone a “winner” ☹️ 12mo
Sapphire I don‘t think it showed left wing radicals as good either. I think it said humans are bad and untrustworthy each in their own way 12mo
Deblovestoread The ending saved what was otherwise a bit of a slog. There was no one to like or root for and it all felt heavy handed. 12mo
Megabooks @CBee excellent point about Shelley. I do wonder what happened to her. 12mo
CSeydel I think it really skewered the popular assumption of “billionaires bad, left wing radicals good.” The billionaire was, of course, bad, but I think the book certainly presented the left wing radicals as not only flawed humans, but not even well-intentioned in many cases. I enjoyed how she portrayed the ego clashes within BW. I‘m going to stick my neck out here and say … I actually liked Tony, and I was rooting for him to get his story. 12mo
CSeydel I enjoyed the wry humor in her descriptions of Mira and Shelley‘s relationship, especially the beginning, where she contrasts how Mira sees Shelley‘s mom as everything that‘s sort of bourgeois and wrong with society, whereas Shelley finds her mom quite endearing but lacks the force of personality to contradict Mira. I also appreciated how we got a major reappraisal of Shelley‘s character (via Lemoine‘s perspective) late in the novel! (edited) 12mo
TheKidUpstairs I agree with a lot of comments, that no one was really "good", which I loved. Everyone fell to their own hubris at some point. 12mo
Cuilin @Cinfhen I‘m glad I read it too when @squirrelbrain posted about it I wanted to read it and don‘t regret it. It wonderful to see others opinions I also don‘t think this author is for me. Thanks to all #camplitsy2023 (edited) 12mo
BarbaraBB So well said @Megabooks I am a sucker for that kind of book too, no matter whether I like the characters or not. I this book I liked Tony (sorry!) and Shelley but it doesn‘t matter, it felt so real and messy and for me it could‘ve gone another 500 pages 😀 12mo
TrishB Great discussions - just reading through. I didn‘t finish the second half so it‘s very interesting to see the thoughts. 12mo
jlhammar I felt like Catton was highlighting the similarities between them as much as the contrast. I mean, there is definitely a “beware the billionaire“ message, which I think is very fair, but it struck me as more nuanced, taking a critical look at everyone's motives. How they perceive themselves and justify their actions/choices vs what they present to the world. The performative aspect to everything. 12mo
jlhammar I thought this bit where Lemoine was pretending to find Darvish was especially good “He walked slowly to the guard rail, looked over, saw the burned-out chassis of the SUV, called 'Owen?' in a fearful voice, shook his head in horror, ran his hands over his face for good measure, and finally - almost moved by the realism of his own performance - he took out his phone to dial 911.“ 12mo
jlhammar Thanks so much for hosting our June discussions @BarbaraBB ! 12mo
GatheringBooks Thank you for the thoughtful questions, @BarbaraBB and for the entire #CampLitsy23 experience @Megabooks @squirrelbrain 12mo
Megabooks @GatheringBooks thank you! So glad you‘re adding to the discussions! 👍🏻🏕️ 12mo
CSeydel @jlhammar I loved that scene too! 12mo
CSeydel @BarbaraBB Agree! I liked this quote from a review in the Atlantic: “Catton balances constantly on the razor‘s edge between writing Tony as a comic pest and making him so irritating that he is nearly unreadable. Often, he is redeemed by the fact that he is correct.” 12mo
CSeydel Although I found Amber much more irritating than Tony in the cafe scene 😁 12mo
DebinHawaii I agree that one side & really almost no individual came out as that “good” but I kind of liked that. Also, I have to go back & reread the Shelly part. I remember her driving away but for some reason I had it in my head that she was back & in the group of dead BW people. (I think it was my late night reading.)😵I probably wouldn‘t have stayed with the book without the buddy read but ended up enjoying it. Thanks for the great hosting @BarbaraBB 🤍 (edited) 12mo
squirrelbrain You‘re welcome @GatheringBooks - happy to have you joining in! 12mo
BarbaraBB @jlhammar @GatheringBooks @DebinHawaii Thank you so much guys for adding so much to these books! Very happy to have you camping with us this year and looking forward to our next read, hosted by @Megabooks 12mo
BarbaraBB @jlhammar Yes! That was such a great scene! @CSeydel Good to hear I am not the only one sympathizing with Tony! And Amber was so annoying indeed 😂 12mo
CSeydel @BarbaraBB Thank you for leading two fun discussions! 12mo
BarbaraBB @CSeydel You‘re very welcome! Looking forward to Yellowface, hosted by @Megabooks 💛 12mo
Christine @Jess Good point! Thanks for sharing that perspective informed by your expertise. And @sarahbarnes Yes re: egos/self-interest-fueled interpretations of reality sullying way too many things in this book (and in life)! 12mo
Hooked_on_books Like many here, I don‘t think the messaging of the book was so black and white. I think she was more trying to say that if we keep going down these paths of deep division and capitalism that we‘ll destroy ourselves. And I can‘t say that I think she‘s wrong. 12mo
Meshell1313 Hmm. Maybe it‘s more like a circle than a line. You go too far left or too far right and you end up in exactly the same spot. “Double double toil and trouble.” 😂 12mo
Meshell1313 What great discussions! I loved reading everyone‘s comments and thoughts! Thanks so much for hosting! 12mo
AmyG Not at all. I remember Tony, trying to reveal Richard‘s mining secret (so trying to do good) and at one point he seemed to fantasize about being famous. So…while he was at one point trying to do good, he also desiered fame and fortune. A VERY fine line. (edited) 12mo
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BarbaraBB
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Question 2 of 3

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TheBookHippie Hi I opted out of this one the decryption is accurate reason why 😅😵‍💫🤷🏻‍♀️. See you all next book! 12mo
BarbaraBB @TheBookHippie We hope to see you in July for 12mo
TheBookHippie @BarbaraBB 🤞🏻 library gets it to me in time!!! 12mo
Laughterhp Who knew this would be such a tough question! I don‘t know if I would call it dystopian. And I was never anxious when reading this one, so it didn‘t seem like a thriller to me. 12mo
GatheringBooks Environmental thriller would probably be the closest one i can think of. There is also a strong literary fiction vibe what with all the internal workings-through of motivations, unraveling of the psyche minutely analyzed. Could it also be dark academia of sorts even though setting is not really in a university (there is such a strong ‘lecturing‘ proselytizing, debating component to the narrative that feels very academia too). 12mo
Bookwormjillk Satiric seems closest to me, but not really sure I can describe it. 12mo
GatheringBooks This is my first Eleanor Catton novel and I found it a riveting, intelligent read. However, I felt on occasion that the author was intrusive - and over explaining, like every single little thing had to be explicitly articulated and parsed. I was hoping for more restraint and more spaces for me to draw my own conclusion about the relationships and why people behaved the way that they did. But it may just be me. 12mo
DGRachel Of those options, I can see satire, but like @Laughterhp I didn‘t feel anxiety or tension, so it missed the mark as any kind of thriller, psychological or environmental. I saw it more as a condemnation of extremism - greedy capitalism verses hardcore activism that leaves no room for compromise or civil discourse. 12mo
Bookwormjillk @DGRachel yes, you summed up what I was feeling 12mo
JamieArc I agrée with @DGRachel ‘s assessment too. Genre-wise, it had a bit of a few things but didn‘t feel wholly any one of those things. I would probably best just categorize it literary fiction. 12mo
ChaoticMissAdventures The ending is very thriller-esque but it took SO LONG and to get there, and didn't have the build up I would want in order to call this a thriller. I can see where people can point to this as satirical, the characters are all extreme in their own way, and at times it felt to me that Catton wanted us to ridicule all of the characters for their choices, Or maybe I just didn't like any of the characters... 12mo
jenniferw88 Environmental thriller for me, but StoryGraph describes it as literary. 12mo
Leniverse To me it seemed like a book that didn't quite know what it wanted to be except for a Macbeth retelling. Like @GatheringBooks I found the author intrusive, but not just on occasion, I felt it was constant. 12mo
CBee @GatheringBooks it‘s not just you, I felt the same! So much over-explaining and wordy descriptions - and the extremely long sentences bugged me 😂 12mo
sarahbarnes I think @GatheringBooks summed it up well. An environmental thriller in the lit fiction category. 12mo
CBee Not a thriller. A thriller ending maybe, but shouldn‘t be classified as such. I‘d say more literary, maybe psychological. 12mo
squirrelbrain I thought it turned a bit thriller-esque halfway through, but there wasn‘t enough tension to wholly categorise it as a thriller. You could argue for all of those genres, or argue against all of them too! 12mo
Megabooks @CBee I like your idea of psychological. As heavy handed into the dystopian as most CliFi titles, but it had those elements. I guess I‘d say environmental literary thriller with satirical elements. 12mo
CBee @Megabooks that‘s a good way to describe it! I didn‘t feel a dystopian vibe really at all. 12mo
batsy I think it sort of combines all of these different elements. Dystopic not in terms of how it's typically categorised but bleak in terms of how the world already is. I mentioned in my review that the start of it reminded me a bit of Jane Austen (the use of free indirect discourse was pretty good) and Catton did mention being inspired by Austen, as well, because she had just worked on the Emma screenplay. In terms of style, it's an intriguing book! 12mo
Cinfhen I feel like the author was probably going for literary fiction with touches of satire and a heavy emphasis regarding climate/ environmental issues. It‘s hard to pinpoint exactly but I‘m guessing a bookstore would shelve it as fiction vs thriller 🤷🏼‍♀️ 12mo
Sapphire @GatheringBooks Yes! Preachy. 12mo
Sapphire Cynical social justice treatise. (Is that a category lol). I thought the ending where the explanation to the populace will be a cult mass suicide was a very purposeful choice too which takes it out of dystopian for me. Very 1970s 12mo
Megabooks @CBee thanks! I‘d be interested to read if Catton ever does some dystopian though! I‘m excited to get to the other book of hers that I own. It sounds quite different. 12mo
BarbaraBB @Megabooks That one is so good as well but I‘ve told you a million times already 😂 12mo
BarbaraBB @GatheringBooks I agree with you re the genre. However I wasn‘t bothered in the least by the extensively explanations. In fact I loved every sentence 😀 12mo
CSeydel @Leniverse Do you think it paralleled Macbeth very closely? I really didn‘t pick up on that - although I admit it‘s been a couple of decades since I read Macbeth 🙃 12mo
CSeydel I‘d shy away from calling it a thriller - I think if you handed this book to someone and told them they were about to read a “psychological thriller” or “environmental thriller” (is that a thing?) then they would be deeply disappointed! When Catton introduces Mira as a “self-mythologizing radical” I mentally filed it as satirical, and I think that holds up. All the major characters were definitely included to represent a certain worldview. 12mo
Leniverse @CSeydel Not that closely, no. I'm thinking, with Demon Copperhead, that follows David Copperfield so closely that when it diverges it is noticeable and done for a reason. With Birnam Wood it's a different story but the occasional scene and theme from Macbeth. 12mo
CSeydel @Leniverse Oh my goodness, Demon Copperhead was practically a shot-for-shot remake. (And somehow it was still so good!) But yes, I do see that the themes in BW parallel those in Macbeth. 12mo
CBee @Megabooks I‘d be interested in reading that too. And The Luminaries does sound intriguing! 12mo
jlhammar Literary fiction, for sure, but on top of that I think you could also refer to this as both an eco-thriller and a satire. I love when a book isn't so easily categorized! 12mo
DebinHawaii @Cinfhen I bought my copy at a local indie bookstore & it was the only copy & housed in their mystery thriller section, but like many here, with the exception of the ending, I wouldn‘t classify it as a thriller. I probably lean to literary fiction with satirical elements. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 12mo
Cinfhen @DebinHawaii ha! Guess if I owned a bookstore it would look different 🤪 12mo
DebinHawaii @Cinfhen Me too! It was the last place I happened to look for it there & I was just about to go ask when I stumbled across it! 😆 12mo
Hooked_on_books I would shelve it in lit fic in a bookstore, though like many others here, I felt it had thrillery and satirical elements. I love a dystopia and this is definitely not one! 12mo
Meshell1313 Oh no definitely not a thriller! That confused me the whole time I‘m reading it. I can see the Macbeth parallels as well as it being an allegory with a message about industry vs. nature and how we‘re destroying the earth. Whose review said today it was guerrilla gardening? I loved that. That rang so true. 12mo
BkClubCare @BarbaraBB @Megabooks - I thought BW easier to read than The Luminaries- could be a time/place/mood issue. She‘s got a career without my endorsement! ( I gave Lums 3 stars and BW 4 stars) 12mo
BkClubCare My memories of Macbeth found no footing in this. I call this Literary Fiction with environmental overtones and trust y‘alls‘ (and I guess the author‘s?) comparison/influence of Shakespeare. 12mo
BarbaraBB @Meshell I loved that sentence too, guerrilla gardening! 12mo
BarbaraBB @BkClubCare I also read her debut, which wasn‘t as good. BW and The Luminaries were both 5* for me and I am very picky about 5* 😀@megabooks (edited) 12mo
Caroline2 This is defo literary fiction for me. Interesting writing, well written characters but with a sudden, disappointing ending. I actually think calling it a thriller does it a disservice as you go in with certain expectations that this book can‘t (and probably doesn‘t want to) live up to. 12mo
AmyG It began as literary fiction, and yes very psychological, but morphed into an environmenal thriller imho. I didn‘t find it dystopian at all. @Megabooks The Luminaries is wonderful and completely different than this book. 12mo
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BarbaraBB
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Question 1 of 3

I am on edge about what‘s happening in Russia right now, so frightening. Escaping into #CampLitsy23 might be just what we need. Let‘s discuss that explosive ending of Birnam Wood explosion 💥
Here we go again, enjoy!

GatheringBooks The ending was unexpected & brutal - left me feeling that I misjudged the billionaire, I should have thought him perfectly capable of annihilating groups of people all at once, after all, he got his billions from drones which also decimated people, but still, that level of antisocial behavior was just 🤯. I liked that it was Lady Darvish who delivered the fatal shot. I wanted Tony to die as well, though. So in that respect it was unsatisfying lols 12mo
Laughterhp I definitely wasn‘t expecting it to end the way it did. I didn‘t like that it switched perspectives so you didn‘t experience it. Though I don‘t know if I would have wanted to. I just think it was abrupt that Lady Darvish showed up and she sees everyone dead that she never knew. Also, it hurt me that Tony started a wildfire. 12mo
DGRachel The ending was my favorite part. 😂 I loved the chaos and farce. I disliked nearly all of the major players so I wasn‘t sorry to see them die, but I did feel terrible about the unnamed members of Birnam Wood who were just trying to do good and got caught in the middle. 12mo
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Bookwormjillk I was surprised but also a little confused. I did like that Lady D showed up and shot the billionaire. But then Tony just set it all on fire? I don‘t know. 12mo
JamieArc After reading all the reviews that called the ending bananapants, I was thinking they would all die, but not like that! I too felt bad for the BW members who didn‘t know what was going on, and I didn‘t want Tony to be left a “hero.” I kind of wish he weren‘t left alive. It was quite abrupt, so I needed better closure and was left unsatisfied. 12mo
ChaoticMissAdventures I am with @DGRachel I struggled through most of the book, but the ending was my favorite, I also found Lady D's arrival a bit too convenient for the story, but glad she showed up I guess, the fire didn't make much sense to me, but everything was moving so fast and maybe Catton was looking for it to not be a Utopic ending with Tony coming out looking too good? 12mo
CBee The ending was bonkers but I kind of loved it. I did feel like a few things were left unresolved, like Lady D getting shot (and we don‘t really know if she‘s alive or dead). Tony setting it all on fire - I get that it‘s antithetical to the BW philosophy in a way, but I don‘t think he felt he had a choice. Everyone is dead and he‘s about to die, and if he couldn‘t set the world on “fire” with an exposé, he could still let the world know ⬇️ 12mo
TheKidUpstairs I loved the ending. Was definitely surprised by how it all went down, and I wouldn't call it "satisfying" but I love a good, messy ending sometimes. And this was definitely a story that called for it. I feel like a clean, tidy ending wouldn't serve the moral ambiguity of the story and its characters. 12mo
CBee what happened (albeit in a very dramatic and destructive way), and what would‘ve continued to happen had Robert not been stopped. 12mo
JenReadsAlot I'm surprised by the ending and also not if that makes sense! I knew something crazy was going to happen. 12mo
jenniferw88 Definitely bananapants! Loved the ending but agree that Lady D turning up was a bit convenient. 12mo
Leniverse I didn't feel like disaster was inevitable while reading (but I didn't really care either) But the ending was in keeping with the Macbeth theme. I believe the author said that we're all Macbeth, or something like that, so it follows that they all had to die. Although Mira turned into more of a Lady Macbeth. And I guess that makes Lady D the Duncan of the story, with a face shot rather than a beheading. 12mo
batsy It was unexpected. I didn't quite know what was coming and I too appreciated that it was bonkers and messy. I'm not sure if I misread it and I've returned the library copy I read in March so I can't go back to check but my takeaway at the time was extreme dissatisfaction at not knowing if Tony actually gets what's coming to him, so that would be my quibble. Kill the billionaire is my one request 🙏🏾 12mo
Julsmarshall Shocking for sure but certainly in line with Macbeth with everyone dying. And while I wouldn‘t say I‘m happy it ended like this but it was my favorite part of the book. Is that terrible? Whatever, it‘s fine :) 12mo
sarahbarnes I was definitely shocked by the ending - it‘s been awhile since a book ending made my jaw drop. I would say that I liked the way it left things not completely resolved. It felt in line with reality - the type of evil that is Robert seems insidious and impossible to truly call to account. 12mo
squirrelbrain I agree @GatheringBooks - the ending was certainly unexpected and brutal (more so as I read an ARC so couldn‘t discuss with anyone!) but I too was left wondering if I‘d missed something in my reading, a foreshadowing of how evil Robert could be. 12mo
squirrelbrain I hadn‘t picked up on the switch in perspective @laughterhp - I may go back and re-read the ending as it‘s so long since I read it. 12mo
squirrelbrain @Leniverse @Julsmarshall - I feel like I ought to read Macbeth to understand this book more - do you think it would help? 12mo
Jess I really liked the ending and loved this book. While I knew this wasn‘t a story that was going to have a happy ending, I was quite surprised with all the violence that occurred (even if the majority of it happened off the page). 12mo
Jess I liked Lady D showing up at the end and honestly was wondering why she wasn‘t more curious earlier. I loved that the tip off for her that something was fishy was the fact that her husband wasn‘t conservation minded at all. Great revelation. 12mo
Leniverse @squirrelbrain I think everyone should read Macbeth regardless of this book ? It did add a bit to the experience, like with the death of Sir D when there's a description of there being a lot of blood, I heard in my head, "Who would have thought the old man would have so much blood in him". Macbeth is great, and more accessible than many other Shakespeare plays. 12mo
Cinfhen Wild ending for an otherwise pretty mellow book!! I enjoyed the chaos but it just went so off the rails. I hadn‘t thought about the Macbeth angle @Leniverse @Julsmarshall I feel like I need to revisit that story!! 12mo
LaraReads @Leniverse really good point with the Macbeth tie-in. I would say I overall liked the book, but I was not left satisfied by the ending at all. Even though there really was no one to actually root for, I still would have like to see someone (anyone 🤣🤣) come out victorious! @Cinfhen I agree, it went too off the rails for my liking! 12mo
Leniverse I actually have one question. How the hell is the bodyguard going to spin this story with both Robert and Lady D dead? 🤣 12mo
Deblovestoread That ending was intense and partly satisfying with Lady D taking out the psycho billionaire but I am puzzled by why his security wouldn‘t cut and run at that point. 12mo
Sapphire @Deblovestoread i guess I thought the body guard didn‘t know Robert was dead for sure. Also, Robert had already set up the spin for the cult gone bad so I think he and lady D caught in it too would just go along. The sub messaging of the book -don‘t trust anyone‘s tale or take -all news is skewed pervades the book as well at corruption and tech fears 12mo
BarbaraBB @TheKidUpstairs I‘m with you again. Loved the messy ending, it fit the novel perfectly. Also I think Tony wanted the world to know like @cbee says and I can understand that. 12mo
CSeydel I remember there was a passage where either Robert is thinking to himself, or perhaps it‘s when Tony and Amber are arguing, but the author points out that mining rare earth elements to make our personal electronics has caused death and devastation, and I think it‘s interesting to contrast the shock of Robert personally murdering the BW crew with the “impersonal” deaths caused by industrialization. 12mo
BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain You haven‘t read Macbeth Helen? You‘re an English girl! It was obliged reading in Holland 😉 12mo
BarbaraBB @Jess I too liked that lady D showed up in the end. It felt like the “grande finale” the book deserved and in line with Shakespeare I think, don‘t you agree @Leniverse ?! 12mo
CSeydel I‘ll also echo what @Leniverse said - I really wanted to know what the media accounts after the fact would say! Clearly the scene didn‘t end up how Robert intended to stage it. Would anyone figure out exactly what happened? I thought maybe the girl Tony was texting (argh, I‘ve forgotten her name … Rose?) I thought she might swoop in at the last minute with some kind of rescue. 12mo
BarbaraBB And one question I still am not sure is answered: did Tony manage to send off his photos?? 12mo
squirrelbrain I know @BarbaraBB ! We did one Shakespeare for GSCE, and for us it was Midsummer Night‘s Dream! 12mo
CBee @squirrelbrain I haven‘t read Macbeth since high school but I remember enjoying it. I think it‘s your choice as honestly, I had to Google a cliff‘s notes version of Macbeth as a refresher 😂 12mo
jlhammar Yes! I mean, not surprised that we were headed towards tragedy (pretty much knew that from the get-go), but the details of it--shocking and cinematic! I thought the crazy, abrupt ending that leaves the reader with lots of questions and wanting more was a brilliant choice. 12mo
BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain I wonder now why we had a to read such a lot of Shakespeare while learning English at school. Definitely not the most easy writer to start with 🤷🏻‍♀️ (edited) 12mo
BarbaraBB @jlhammar 💯 a brilliant choice! It left me in awe! 12mo
DebinHawaii I‘m on the “loved the ending even if it wasn‘t completely satisfying” & I need to reread Macbeth” teams!😆 I liked how shocking the end was. I had been reading at a 50-page per night pace, but stayed up late & finished the last 150 because at that point (finally) I couldn‘t put it down. Am I wrong to think/hope that Tony perished in the fire? 🤦🏻‍♀️I did wish for an epilogue of some sort from the perspective of who got to the crime scene first. 12mo
BarbaraBB @DebinHawaii Yeah that epilogue… she left so much unsaid. I wished for one too 12mo
jenniferw88 Did the cover up of the murder remind anyone else of the current Titan disaster? I could see SO MANY parallels between that and the book - I'm sure they must have known the people were dead last Sunday... especially if they'd been warned 5 years ago that it wasn't safe! 12mo
BarbaraBB @jenniferw88 💯!! I had to think of BW too! Billionaires thinking they‘re untouchable (edited) 12mo
jenniferw88 @squirrelbrain @Leniverse I had to study Macbeth 3 times in a row - years 7, 8 and 9 😂 12mo
DGRachel I feel like I have to go back and reread Macbeth. I‘ve read it multiple times but clearly missed the parallels others saw! 12mo
Hooked_on_books I loved the ending. It‘s not what I would have wanted to happen for the characters, but it served the story SO well, and I‘m all about that. I remember closing the book at the end feeling really satisfied. 12mo
Meshell1313 The whole time I was just waiting for Robert to kill Mira so when Lady D shows up I‘m completely caught off guard. I did feel satisfied though but still sad about the destruction of the land and nature. What‘s the message there- that‘s it‘s inevitable? 12mo
AmyG I loved it. I love a good surprise. I would love to know what happened after. 12mo
JamieArc I like @CSeydel ‘s idea about clips from the media after, perhaps as a sort of epilogue. I think I just wanted some sort of outsider thoughts on what went down. 12mo
Chelsea.Poole @CSeydel I agree! I, too, was waiting for Rose to show up! Or maybe even Tony‘s mother or sister as they were brought up in the last part often. 12mo
BkClubCare I LOVED!!!! Lady Darvish showing up and kickin‘ ass! Other than that, I don‘t even remember abt Tony and a fire. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 12mo
CSeydel @JamieArc @Chelsea.Poole Yes! Glad it wasn‘t just me 😊 12mo
BarbaraBB @Hooked_on_books I felt confused and utterly satisfied too! And I also liked that Lady D showed up to spice things up 😀 @BkClubCare @Jess 12mo
Caroline2 I found the ending frustrating. We had 50 pages in the beginning with slow exposition and character background that was long winded and then the ending happened off stage and was rushed. We didn‘t even know which girl was strapped to the car? I like what happened but not how it was written and then it abruptly stops?! Weird and tiresome. 12mo
SamAnne I loved the ending. I found the whole novel quite the ride! 12mo
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review
Chelsea.Poole
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

Once I slogged through the initial character development at the beginning, this one took off! One of those books that has both plot and strong characters. The clash of the young, idealists from the “guerrilla gardening” collective and the billionaire with his sniveling hanger-on was brilliance. The New Zealand setting was believable. There‘s drones and scary tech, plus politics. This book is so original and I loved it! #camplitsy23 let‘s go!

BarbaraBB So happy you loved it. I hoped so! 12mo
batsy Glad you enjoyed it! Love an enthusiastic review 💜 12mo
sarahbarnes I loved it, too! 12mo
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squirrelbrain I‘m glad you loved it so much! ❤️ 12mo
Megabooks Guerrilla gardening is such an interesting thing to build a book around! 😂 great review! 12mo
Dragon Just heard about this one on CBC Radio review- stacked ❤️🐉 12mo
101 likes3 stack adds6 comments
review
JamieArc
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Mehso-so

Carton is a bit too smart for me, so I wasn‘t that keen to read this one. BUT it ended up being more readable than anticipated. In The Luminaries, I was frustrated that I didn‘t understand the chapter title symbols, and here - no chapters at all! 🤣. My thoughts are all over the place on this one, and I tend to agree with others‘ reviews. *Definitely* look forward to our discussion. #CampLitsy23

JamieArc And when this shows up as an award nominee (Booker, maybe?), I‘ll be glad to have already read it! 12mo
BarbaraBB I hope it makes the Booker longlist! 12mo
JamieArc @BarbaraBB It feels not only deserving, but it seems to have all the elements of a nominee. I would be surprised if it didn‘t make it. 12mo
61 likes3 comments
blurb
GatheringBooks
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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#VolumesAndVocals Day 22: Very #BadRomanceLGaga between the billionaire and the main character here. Cannot wait to discuss soon for #CampLitsy23.

JamieArc Bad Romance indeed! Great choice for this prompt! 12mo
squirrelbrain I‘m really looking forward to the discussions this weekend. 12mo
DebinHawaii I just finished last night. Crazy! 🫣 12mo
Eggs Happy Eating and Happy Reading🥰 12mo
66 likes5 comments
review
Christine
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

Will save further comment for the #CampLitsy23 convos this weekend, but I really liked this (from start to finish! Was into the characters/setting/tone/writing right away, and in general plot/action are just unnecessary but fun bonuses for me as a reader. 😁).

Megabooks So glad you enjoyed it!! 12mo
squirrelbrain I loved it from start to finish too! 12mo
Christine @Megabooks I really did! Another camp winner that I likely wouldn‘t otherwise have read. 12mo
Christine @squirrelbrain Yay!! Looking forward to discussing the second half. 12mo
SamAnne Loved loved loved this one. 12mo
55 likes5 comments
review
jenniferw88
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick
Librarybelle I‘ve enjoyed seeing the mixed reviews for this. I still have not read it, but I plan to! 12mo
Suet624 I‘d agree with this assessment. Low pick. 12mo
61 likes3 comments