If you like big fat books of historical fiction, generational sagas if you will, this is this year’s book for you. It’s the kind of book I can just escape into for hours – the story keeps going – and going – and going – for over 300 years and thousands and thousands of miles -the entire world as it turns out.
by Annie Proulx
2016/ 736 pages
rating: 9.25 / historical fiction
I suppose this is what I expected having read “The Shipping News” years ago and very much enjoying it. But Proulx is 80 now and not the most prolific writer on the block. It’s a treat getting to read a new one.
The setting is basically the forests around southeastern Canada and Maine, especially the Penobscot and Boston areas and up into what is now Canada. But there are also scenes in many other places because some of the characters travel as far as London, Amsterdam, China and New Zealand and Ecuador. The hundreds of characters include Natives, immigrants, colonists, Americans, as well as a few Europeans and others. Yes, there are nice graphic family trees in the back pages but I really hesitated to look at them much for fear of accidental spoilers – like who marries whom? I did check them out lightly a couple times though – they were helpful.
It’s a powerful tale and nicely told with the history being gently infused without ever taking over – the details about the Mi’kmaq people is perfect. Proulx certainly does her research. Unfortunately, imo, toward the end of this 700+ pages book, the politics of conservation/environmental issues becomes a bit heavy-handed – I’m certainly of similar mind but not crazy about being hit over the head with the details.
Nice Interview: 1465321447
Some great reviews:
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
I’m trying to avoid chunksters for a while, but this is definitely on my radar for later on…
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It’s worth it!