Barkskins: A Novel
Barkskins: A Novel
Barkskins: A Novel

Barkskins: A Novel

  • Publish Date: 2016-06-14
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Annie Proulx
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Finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Best Novel
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year

From Annie Proulxthe Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, comes her masterwork: an epic, dazzling, violent, magnificently dramatic novel about the taking down of the worlds forests.

In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, Ren Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a seigneur, for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cuttersbarkskins. Ren suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing. He is forced to marry a Mikmaw woman and their descendants live trapped between two inimical cultures. But Duquet, crafty and ruthless, runs away from the seigneur, becomes a fur trader, then sets up a timber business. Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred yearstheir travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditionsthe revenge of rivals, accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, and cultural annihilation. Over and over again, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse.

Proulxs inimitable genius is her creation of characters who are so vividin their greed, lust, vengefulness, or their simple compassion and hopethat we follow them with fierce attention. Annie Proulx is one of the most formidable and compelling American writers, and Barkskins is her greatest novel, a magnificent marriage of history and imagination.

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