Barkskins – Annie Proulx

BarkskinsI hate to use clichés, but there is no other way to put it.  This is a sweeping novel, an epic covering two families and three hundred years. It all begins in the 17th century, with Rene Sel and Charles Duquet, two indentured Frenchmen, arriving in New France hoping to escape the poverty at home and find a better life. Their paths divide quickly, with Sel clearing his forest land, marrying a Mi’kmaq woman, and Duquet acquiring tracts of woodlands in the hope of making a fortune selling timber. On the surface, the novel is about the lives of these men and their many descendants, but the undercurrent shows the gradual and terrible destruction of the forests along with the gradual, and terrible destruction of the indigenous people.

This is a very long book, over 700 pages, but it never bogs down, never has unnecessary detail. The beautiful prose flows and carries the reader on a wonderful journey through time, showing the changes in cities, shipping, travel, and all of life. I didn’t want it to end and I highly recommend it.

eGalley review                          Publication date 6.14.16

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