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Barkskins: A Novel by Annie Proulx

Barkskins: A Novel (2016)

by Annie Proulx

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Loved this book when I started it, but less so as it went along. Beautifully written, as you would expect from Annie Proulx and brilliant in concept, but too long in my opinion. Or maybe there were too many characters. In any event, I didn't connect emotionally as much as with her previous work. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
And full of trees. ( )
  SonjaYoerg | Mar 6, 2017 |
At times, I felt I was plodding through this very thorough story of a First Nations family and a French family who came to North America. Through marriage their lives intertwined Through the story Proulx’s love for nature and Canada shine through. The novel deserves the accolades it has received, if for no other reason the detail about the lumber industry and the treatment of native peoples. Beginning in the 1600’s the multigenerational story ends in 2013. I love a big thick novel, and although this book held my interest, I didn’t find it as compelling as Michener’s Hawaii, perhaps because Proux is so adept at putting so much detail into a story. ( )
  brangwinn | Feb 26, 2017 |
I felt this book was far too long. While I typically enjoy a multi generational story, this just dragged on for too long. It seemed like the author realized it was going on for far too long and then all of a sudden after introducing several new characters (ver briefly) she wrapped it up. And I don't exactly know what happened at the end. I re-read it a few times and just don't get it. ( )
  tinkerbellkk | Jan 24, 2017 |
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Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very well together. - George Santayana.
In Antiquity every tree, every spring, every hill had its own genius loci, its guardian spirit. These spirits were accessible to men, but were very unlike men; centaurs, fauns, and mermaids show their ambivalence. Before one cut a tree, mined a mountain, or dammed a brook, it was important to placate the spiriti in charge of that particular situation, and to keep it placated. By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects. - Lynn White, Jr.
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In twilight they passed bloody Tadoussac, Kebec and Trois-Rivieres and near dawn moored at a remote riverbank settlement.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743288785, Hardcover)

From Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, comes her masterpiece, ten years in the writing—an epic, dazzling, violent, magnificently dramatic novel about taming the wilderness and destroying the forest, set over three centuries.

In the late seventeenth century two illiterate woodsmen, Rene Sel and Charles Duquet, make their way from Northern France to New France to seek a living. Bound to a feudal lord, a “seigneur,” for three years in exchange for land, they suffer extraordinary hardship, always in awe of the forest they are charged with clearing, sometimes brimming with dreams of its commercial potential. Rene marries an Indian healer, and they have children, mixing the blood of two cultures. Duquet travels the globe and back, starting a logging company that will prosper for generations. Proulx tells the stories of the children, grandchildren, and descendants of these two lineages, the Sels and the Duquets, as well as the descendants of their allies and foes, as they travel back to Europe, to China, to New England, always in quest of a livelihood or a fortune, or fleeing stunningly brutal conditions—accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, the revenge of rivals.

Beyond her vast research and astonishing imagination, Proulx’s inimitable genius is her creation of characters who are so vivid—in their greed, lust, vengefulness, sorrow, compassion and hope—that we follow them with fierce attention, and when they die, there are others equally visceral and magnetic who follow Annie Proulx is one of the most formidable writers of our time, and Barkskins is her Moby Dick, the story she has been writing all her life, a magnificent American novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 06 Jan 2016 07:29:15 -0500)

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