Barkskins

Version: Unabridged
Author: Annie Proulx
Narrator: Robert Petkoff
Genres: Literature, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: June 2016
# of Units: 21 CDs
Length: 16 hours, 39 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

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-­­winning author of The Shipping News and “Brokeback Mountain,” comes the New York Times bestselling epic about the demise of the world’s forests: “Barkskins is grand entertainment in the tradition of Dickens and Tolstoy…the crowning achievement of Annie Proulx’s distinguished career, but also perhaps the greatest environmental novel ever written” (San Francisco Chronicle).

In the late seventeenth century two young Frenchmen, René Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters—barkskins. René 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 years—their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand—the 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.

“A stunning, bracing, full-tilt ride through three hundred years of US and Canadian history…with the type of full-immersion plot that keeps you curled in your chair, reluctant to stop reading” (Elle), Barkskins showcases Proulx’s inimitable genius of creating characters who are so vivid that we follow them with fierce attention. “This is Proulx at the height of her powers as an irreplaceable American voice” (Entertainment Weekly, Grade A), and Barkskins “is an awesome monument of a book” (The Washington Post)—“the masterpiece she was meant to write” (The Boston Globe). As Anthony Doerr says, “This magnificent novel possesses the dark humor of The Shipping News and the social awareness of ‘Brokeback Mountain.’”

Reviews (2)

Written by Marsha Scanlan on July 13th, 2016

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Loved the generational plot. It was the perfect blend if fact with fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Written by Book Critic on June 16th, 2016

  • Book Rating: 4/5

It's very long and complex, but truly fascinating and eye opening.

Author Details

Author Details

Proulx, Annie

"Annie Proulx (b. 1935) was born in Norwich, Connecticut, the oldest of five sisters. Her mother was a painter and amateur naturalist whose family had lived in Connecticut since 1635 as farmers, millworkers, inventors, and artists. Her father was the vice president of a textile company, and the Proulx moved frequently - North Carolina, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island. Proulx attended Colby College, the University of Vermont, and Concordia University, earning a B.A. and an M.A., as well as passing her doctoral oral examinations in history.

In 1975, with few teaching jobs available, she abandoned work on her Ph.D. and began a perilous career in freelance journalism. In the 1980s she published six ""how-to"" books on a variety of subjects, including Plane and Make Your Own Fences and Gates, Walkways, Walls and Drives (1983). During this time she also raised her three sons from her third marriage while living in an isolated cabin in a rural town in Vermont.

Supporting herself and her sons on her meager income as a journalist, Proulx began to write stories for fun, creating one or two a year. Most of these early stories were written for a men's magazine about hunting and fishing, where her first editor told her that she had to publish under a masculine name, ""something like Joe or Zack, retrievers' names,"" she complained. They compromised on using her initials, E. A. Proulx, the E standing for her first name, Edna.

In 1983 and 1987, two of her stories were listed among the ""Distinguished Short Stories"" in Best American Short Stories. In 1988, Proulx published her first book of fiction, the nine stories set in northern Vermont constituting Heart Songs and Other Stories. Two of her three novels, Postcards (1992), and The Shipping News (1994), won prestigious awards?the PEN/Faulkner, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. "