“In every life there are events that reshape one’s sense of existence. Afterwards, all is different and the past is dimmed.”–Annie Proulx, Barkskins
- Here’s what happens:
- This is a dramatic and sweeping family saga that takes us across hundreds of years and several continents. The story starts in the 16th century with the colonization of New France by the blood, sweat, and tears of French loggers, and snakes through time as those initial loggers build empires and create families. Proulx grapples with the eternal dilemmas of class, race, and legacy through the Sel and Duquet family trees.
- It’s good because:
- It’s hard to believe it is a work of fiction because it is so detailed and intricate in its scope. From the intimate knowledge of the forest to the sprawling and overlapping family trees, Proulx writes as if these stories have always existed and she were uncovering them rather than inventing them.
- Read if:
- You’re looking for a substantial, intellectual read that you’ll feel good about. This heavy (both literally and figuratively) is no guilty pleasure; spending 700 pages with the Sel and Duquet families is an achievement–a beautiful one, but certainly a time-consuming one as well.
Up next: Austria with The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck!