Michael Christie

Michael Christie

Author of Greenwood and other works of fiction


Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel
Finalist for The BC Book Awards
Finalist for The Evergreen Award
An Indie Next Pick
Named one of CBC's best books of 2019

From the award-winning author of If I Fall, If I Die comes a propulsive, multigenerational family story, in which the unexpected legacies of a remote island off the coast of British Columbia will link the fates of five people over a hundred years. Cloud Atlas meets Barkskins in this ingenious nested-ring epic set against the devastation of the natural world.

In 2038, scientist Jake Greenwood is working as an overqualified tour guide to ultra-rich eco-tourists in one of the world's last remaining forests. As the rest of humanity chokes on the dust storms that follow the environmental collapse known as the Great Withering, Jake finds temporary refuge on Greenwood Island, a place whose connection to her own family name she had thought just a coincidence -- until someone from her past reappears with a journal that might give Jake the family story she's long craved. As we move backward in time from the Great Withering to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and then forward into the future again, we meet an injured carpenter facing the possibility of his own death, an eco-warrior trying to atone for the sins of her father's rapacious timber empire, a blind tycoon with a secret he will pay a terrible price to protect, and a Depression-era drifter who saves an abandoned infant from certain death, only to find himself the subject of a country-wide manhunt. At the very centre of the book is a tragedy that will bind the fates of two boys together, setting in motion events whose reverberations will be felt for over a century.

A magnificent novel of inheritance, sacrifice, nature, and love that takes its structure from the nested growth rings of a tree, Greenwood spans generations to tell the story of a family living and dying in the shadows cast by its own secrets. With this breathtaking feat of storytelling, Michael Christie masterfully reveals the tangled knot of lies, omissions, and half-truths that exists at the root of every family's origin story.

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US (available February 25, 2020)
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"A rugged, riveting novel ... This superb family saga will satisfy fans of Richard Powers's The Overstory while offering a convincing vision of potential ecological destruction." – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Christie skillfully teases out the details in a page-turner of a saga that complements sylvan books such as Sometimes a Great Notion and The Overstory ... Beguilingly structured, elegantly written: eco-apocalyptic but with hope that somehow we'll make it." – Kirkus (starred review)

"A dystopian, historical, speculative, multigenerational family saga, this marvellous, generous book is best enjoyed in a forest." – Sharon Bala, author of The Boat People

"A remarkable achievement." – Carol Off, As It Happens

"Rich with evocative descriptions of West Coast wilderness and anchored by a deep visceral bond to the trees that sustain us all, Greenwood is a literary page-turner that manages to be both nostalgic and modern, personal and political, intimately human and big-picture historical. In an era of so much uncertainty, it is comforting to see novelists begin to work through the biggest issue of our age. And, in this case, convert our collective suffering into brilliant, beauty-filled art." — Toronto Star

"Greenwood is brilliant. Michael Christie shows a cross section of one family's history, revealing their dark secrets, loves, losses, and the mark of an accident still visible four generations later. Year by year, page by page, the layers of this intricate and elegant novel build into an epic story that is completely absorbing. I had to cancel everything for this book because I couldn't stop reading." — Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal

"This book is why we read books. Why we need books. Wildly inventive, structurally elegant, deeply felt, and so very wise. Greenwood is Michael Christie's best work ever, and that's saying something." — Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting

"Ingeniously structured and with prose as smooth as beech bark, Michael Christie's Greenwood is as compulsive as it is profound. A sweeping intergenerational saga that explores trees and their roots, from the precious evergreens that become commodities in the entertainment business of the future, to the intricately tangled trees of family—all of it is dazzlingly delivered in a framework inspired by the actual growth rings of a tree. Every one of Greenwood's characters burrowed their way into my heart. Beguilingly brilliant, timely, and utterly engrossing, Greenwood is one of my favourite reads in recent memory." — Kira Jane Buxton, author of Hollow Kingdom

"At once hypnotic and raging, dangerously real and brimming with hope, Greenwood is that most necessary epic that binds our human frailties to our planet's possibilities. Michael Christie tenderly rakes the past and paints a future without flinching. I read this book with my heart in my throat, in my hands, in my gut; I read this book heart-full." — Katy Simpson Smith, author of The Story of Land and Sea

"A compelling, sprawling tale of forests and family. Michael Christie's novel is much more than a story of environmental apocalypse. Whatever 2038 is really like when it arrives, Canadians and others will still be reading Greenwood for its high energy, its memorable characters and its anguished love for the forests." – The Tyee

"Trees: They provide shelter, sustenance, and sanctuary for vast numbers of creatures. They create the very air we breathe. And they are under threat. For generations, the Greenwood family lives with, destroys, fights for, and monetizes these gentle giants until their very existence is absorbed into the class system designed and upheld by the one percent. This is a sweeping arboreal saga full of blood, greed, heart, and humanity. Greenwood will fell readers worldwide." — Bex Petterson, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

"Enchanting for its beautiful language, this epic takes us through the tumultuous decades that have shaped our world today, reminding how those who came before endured and even thrived through the worst of times." — Library Journal (Spring Pick)

Photo Credit: Cedar Bowers
Photo Credit: Raina Wilson


MICHAEL CHRISTIE is the author of the novel If I Fall, If I Die, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Kirkus Prize, was selected as a New York Times Editors' Choice Pick, and was on numerous best-of 2015 lists. His linked collection of stories, The Beggar's Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Writers' Trust Prize for Fiction, and won the Vancouver Book Award. His essays and book reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Globe & Mail.

Greenwood, his most recent novel, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Rights have been sold in seven countries.

A former carpenter and homeless shelter worker, he lives with his two children in Victoria, British Columbia, the unceded territory of the Lkwungen speaking people, and the Songhees, Esquimalt, and WSÁNEC First Nations.

If I Fall, If I Die

A New York Times Editors' Choice
Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Longlisted for the Kirkus Prize
Winner of the Northern Lit Award

Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and loving, full of art, experiments, and music—but confined to their small house.

But Will's thirst for adventure can't be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside.  With the help of an artistic loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedom of skateboarding, Will is pulled far from the confines of his closed-off world and thrust headfirst into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.

In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly observed novel about mothers and sons, fears and risks, and the lengths we'll go for those we love.


"This is a bruiser of a tale, one you will feel in your shins and your solar plexus.  Michael Christie is a virtuosic prose stylist and boy is he so very wise and so funny on families and friendships, fear and joy, and the physics of sky and pavement. If I Fall, I Die is a death-defying coming of age story; it's also as weird and as convincing a love story as I have ever read.  And so beautifully told that you'll want to pass it on immediately." – Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

"An astonishing piece of work. Christie combines lyrical prose and true-to-life characters--and skateboarding--to craft a remarkable tale of mothers and sons, and what it means to grow up." – Philipp Meyer, author of The Son

"Dark, threatening, dislocating and altogether brilliant." – Kirkus, (starred review)

"Rarely has the tender claustrophobia of the mother-son dynamic, the raw humanity of mental illness, or the delicate, dangerous process of growing up been rendered with such heart and sensitivity. If I Fall, If I Die mines the fundamental dilemmas of both childhood and parenthood to sublime effect. I can't recall a funnier, truer or more beautiful debut." – Patrick DeWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers

"Reading If I Fall, If I Die is like hopping on a skateboard and grabbing hold of the bumper of an accelerating car. Christie's prose pulls you on a ride through the winding streets of phobia, family, and friendship at such a clip you won't dare let go." – David Gilbert, author of & Sons

"Brims with a fierce poignancy that makes the book very difficult to put down." – Publisher's Weekly

The Beggar's Garden

Winner of the Vancouver Book Award
Longlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize
Finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
One Amazon's 10 Best Books of 2011: Canadian Fiction
One of Quill and Quire's 5 Best Books of 2011

Brilliantly sure-footed, strikingly original, tender and funny, this memorable collection of nine linked short stories will delight as well as disturb. The stories follow a diverse group of curiously interrelated Vancouverites-from bank manager to crackhead to retired Samaritan to mental patient to web designer to car thief-as they struggle against a unifying sense of loss, all while drifting through each other's lives like ghosts in Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside. These darkly comic and intoxicating stories, gleefully free of moral judgment, are about people who are searching in the jagged margins of life-for homes, drugs, shelter, love, forgiveness-and collectively they offer a generous and vivid portrait of humanity, not just in Vancouver but in any modern urban centre. Stories range from the tragically funny opening story "Emergency Contact" to the audacious, drug-fuelled rush of "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" to the deranged and thrilling extreme of "King Me."

The Beggar's Garden is a powerful and affecting debut, written with an exceptional eye and ear and heart.


"About as good as a first book can be." – Toronto Star

"Dazzling." – Quill & Quire (starred review)

"Transcendent." – Georgia Straight



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Foreign Rights
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