Birnam Wood: A Novel (Hardcover)

Birnam Wood: A Novel By Eleanor Catton Cover Image
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INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

A Best Book of the Year: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Time, The Financial Times, The Chicago Public Library,
Kirkus
A Notable Book of the Year at The Washington Post
A Best Book of the Year (So Far) at The New Yorker, The BBC, Vulture, CrimeReads
A Barack Obama Summer Reading Pick

“[A] savagely satirical thriller.” —People


The Booker Prize–winning author of The Luminaries brings us Birnam Wood, a gripping thriller of high drama and kaleidoscopic insight into what drives us to survive.

Birnam Wood is on the move . . .

A landslide has closed the Korowai Pass on New Zealand’s South Island, cutting off the town of Thorndike and leaving a sizable farm abandoned. The disaster presents an opportunity for Birnam Wood, an undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic guerrilla gardening collective that plants crops wherever no one will notice. For years, the group has struggled to break even. To occupy the farm at Thorndike would mean a shot at solvency at last.

But the enigmatic American billionaire Robert Lemoine also has an interest in the place: he has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker, or so he tells Birnam’s founder, Mira, when he catches her on the property. He’s intrigued by Mira, and by Birnam Wood; although they’re poles apart politically, it seems Lemoine and the group might have enemies in common. But can Birnam trust him? And, as their ideals and ideologies are tested, can they trust one another?

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.

About the Author


Eleanor Catton is the author of the international bestseller The Luminaries, winner of the Man Booker Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award. Her debut novel, The Rehearsal, won the Betty Trask Award, was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and was long-listed for the Orange Prize. She is also the screenwriter of Emma, a 2020 feature film adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel. Born in Canada and raised in New Zealand, she now lives in Cambridge, England.

Praise For…


A Must Read at The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, People, Vogue, Elle, Oprah Daily, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bloomberg, The Economist, The Financial Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, USA Today, The BBC, The Guardian, The Times (London), Buzzfeed, Literary Hub, Kirkus Reviews, The Christian Science Monitor, Condé Nast Traveler, and more

Short-listed for the Giller Prize

Named a Best Young British Novelist by Granta
A Finalist for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

“A generational cri de coeur . . . A sophisticated page-turner . . . Birnam Wood nearly made me laugh with pleasure. The whole thing crackles . . . Greta Gerwig could film this novel, but so could Quentin Tarantino.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Birnam Wood is terrific. As a multilayered, character-driven thriller, it’s as good as it gets. Ruth Rendell would have loved it. A beautifully textured work—what a treat.”
—Stephen King

“Whooshingly enjoyable . . . A witty literary thriller about the collision between eco-idealism and staggering wealth.”
—John Powers, NPR’s Fresh Air

“Grand, chilling . . . [Birnam Wood] grips you by the throat.”
—Lauren LeBlanc, The Boston Globe

“Gorgeous . . . [Catton is] a generational talent.”
Oprah Daily

“Kaleidoscopic . . . A gripping thriller.”
—Bill Goldstein, NBC Weekend Today in New York

“A rollicking eco-thriller that juggles a lot of heady themes with a big plot and a heedless sense of play.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A sleek contemporary thriller . . . Delicious.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“Sophisticated, stylish and searching . . . A full-on triumph from a generational talent.”
—Hamilton Cain, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“Complex and often shocking . . . Profound.”
—B.D. McClay, The New Yorker

“The clash of principles with human nature is much at play in this excitingly complex novel . . . Breathtaking.”
—Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

“An eco-thriller of grand psychological and social ambitions.”
—Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times

“An ecological thriller, a treatise about surveillance technology, and a lush meditation on friendship and desire.”
—Emma Alpern, Vulture

“A rare accomplishment: an intelligent and elegant thriller that is also a damn fine read.”
The Economist

“Delicious . . . At once a highly inventive spin on a morality tale and a logical interpretation of contemporary ecological doom.”
—Sloane Crosley, Departures

“[A] virtuoso performance: elaborately plotted, richly conceived, enormously readable.”
—Kevin Power, The Guardian

“Dark in both its outlook and omnipresent humor . . . A sincere interrogation of the relationship between morality and the ability to bring about positive change.”
—Lily Meyer, The Atlantic

“[A] page-turning thriller-slash-sneaky dystopian satire.”
—Patrick Rapa, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Will have you gnawing your knuckles.”
—Lisa Allardice, The Guardian

“Part eco-thriller, part scathing social satire, and entirely unputdownable.”
—Emma Cooke, Buzzfeed

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374110338
ISBN-10: 0374110336
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: March 7th, 2023
Pages: 432
Language: English