Barkskins: A Novel
- Publish Date: 2017-04-11
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: Annie Proulx
Finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Best Novel
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
From the Pulitzer Prize-ÂÂwinning author of The Shipping News and âBrokeback Mountain,â comes the New York Times bestselling epic about the demise of the worldâs forests: âBarkskins is grand entertainment in the tradition of Dickens and Tolstoyâ¦the crowning achievement of Annie Proulxâs distinguished career, but also perhaps the greatest environmental novel ever writtenâ (San Francisco Chronicle).
In the late seventeenth century two young Frenchmen, RenÃ© Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cuttersâbarkskins. RenÃ© suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing. He is forced to marry a native woman and their descendants live trapped between two cultures. But Duquet runs away, becomes a fur trader, then sets up a timber business. Annie Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred yearsâtheir travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealandâthe revenge of rivals, accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, and cultural annihilation. Over and over, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse.
âA stunning, bracing, full-tilt ride through three hundred years of US and Canadian historyâ¦with the type of full-immersion plot that keeps you curled in your chair, reluctant to stop readingâ (Elle), Barkskins showcases Proulxâs inimitable genius of creating characters who are so vivid that we follow them with fierce attention. âThis is Proulx at the height of her powers as an irreplaceable American voiceâ (Entertainment Weekly, Grade A), and Barkskins âis an awesome monument of a bookâ (The Washington Post)ââthe masterpiece she was meant to writeâ (The Boston Globe). As Anthony Doerr says, âThis magnificent novel possesses the dark humor of The Shipping News and the social awareness of âBrokeback Mountain.ââ