Large Print - 2016
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In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, René 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-cutters -- barkskins. René suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing. He is forced to marry a Mi'kmaw 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 years -- their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditions -- the 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.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine :, Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning,, 2016
Edition: Large Print edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781410490896
Characteristics: 907 pages (large print) : genealogical tables ; 25 cm
large print,rda


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Dec 16, 2017

I thought this was an excellent book. It traces the family trees of 2 french settlers to New France. One family struggles with labor related jobs while the other prospers. I read the large print edition and it was almost 900 pages. It did take a while to finish. I would recommend this book.

Nov 13, 2017

I started reading this on my Kindle. I had no idea that it was a 700 page book. When the loan expired, I checked out the book. Trying to get through this book all at once would be horrible. I found that it is divided into 10 sections. Most are good stand alone stories. Read them more or less in order, skip what you are not enjoying. Reading books should not be a miserable experience.

Sep 06, 2017

I was swept up in this book... until about page 250. That's when I began to weary of characters flitting across the pages of this book like so many birds, of the heavy-handed approach to the important messages, and to the lack of human touch or empathy towards characters and their conditions. I admire Annie Proulx immensely and am glad her tour-de-fource is so enthusiastically embraced. I wonder how much enthusiasm this book would inspire if she was not so aged. For me, too much (about 400 pages worth) and too little (character development and continuity).

nrobocop_nwpl Apr 15, 2017

Overall I felt more impressed by this book than ~swept up~ by it. It was a long read and it was hard to get particularly attached to any of the characters. However, it is one of those books that lingers. By providing such a sweeping perspective its emotional gut-punch isn't in the individual lives of the characters, it is in the life of the forest and it does an amazing job of unpacking the problems of ideology in sustaining a living world. Its treatment of First Nations, particularly the Mi'kmaq peoples, is profoundly affecting. It is one of those rare books that affects your thinking (even if you're already sympathetic to its cause) not because it moralizes, but because it traces the changes in the land and the evolution of attitudes and ideologies over what very quickly starts to feel like a remarkably short period of time.

Feb 26, 2017

At times, I felt I was plodding through this very thorough story of a First Nations family and a French family who came to North America. Through marriage their lives intertwined Through the story Proulx’s love for nature and Canada shine through. The novel deserves the accolades it has received, if for no other reason the detail about the lumber industry and the treatment of native peoples. Beginning in the 1600’s the multigenerational story ends in 2013. I love a big thick novel, and although this book held my interest, I didn’t find it as compelling as Michener’s Hawaii, perhaps because Proux is so adept at putting so much detail into a story.

adam_cooper Feb 19, 2017

Here we go, another librarian review for a 700+ page door stop. But seriously this book is engrossing. Spanning several decades and exploring multiple genealogies this page-turning behemoth will keep you gripped (or your money back). The long format provides a telescopic view of the history of the logging industry in North America as well as the gradual shift from frontier mythologizing to ecological thinking. This is the great achievement of this book and you have to work to get the pay off. And if you are still put off by the sheer size it is divided into smaller books which can be read alone and then put down whilst you read your next bodice-ripping potboiler.

Feb 19, 2017

An excellent book about the immigrants populating North America, effect on Native Americans and trees! The history of trees. We only think of ourselves and have been destroying the planet more and faster than we (I) know. Very visual writing. Can almost feel the pain of trees and the planet. Is there hope......

Jan 30, 2017

It is certainly a book with a lot of detail and it follows two families through several generations. If you enjoy family sagas and historical novels, you might like this one. However, I found it tiresome to read. It may be because I had a limited time to read it, I had to finish by January 16th for Bookclub, but I cannot say that the book kept my attention. I found myself looking for reasons to put it aside.

Ms. Proulx uses the book to preach about the destruction of forests not only in North America but also in New Zealand and some in South America. Ultimately, the caucasian framily, the Duke's destroy themselves as they did the forests. The logging company that amassed huge fortunes disappears and the last generations of the Duke family destroy each other.

The Sel family who marry and mix with indians, mainly the mi'kmaq live on, not wealthy, they struggle but they live on. They work as loggers to live and provide for family, often die horrible deaths but often return to their ancestral homes. They complain of the destruction of forests.

I struggled to finish this book and I cannot say I enjoyed it, but it is certainly thought provoking. I am looking forward to the Bookclub discussion.

Jan 26, 2017

This novel is a literary tour de force. The time and energy Proulx put into researching the logging/forestry industry and the time periods, 1600s to present, is impressive. The characters are well-developed and endearing. I was left with a renewed sense of urgency for protecting and respecting our woods and natural resources. Definitely timely as we protest DAPL and Keystone pipelines.

Dec 26, 2016

Covers all facets of the logging industry, from long, cold winters in bush camps to wheeling and dealing at the highest levels of finance. Penetrating insights on colonial and racist attitudes towards North American's indigenous peoples, and a great reminder that many of us - especially in Canada - are descended from a mixture of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ancestors. So many ways to die in the woods! Not a casual read, can be hard to keep track of all the characters, but definitely rewarding.

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