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BARKSKINS BY ANNIE PROULX

PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER
REVIEW BY EMILY MILLS

Prepare a thermos of tea, a plate of biscuits, and cancel your afternoon before embarking on the tumultuous journey. The passion, fire and sheer force of story-telling in this book is extraordinary. I felt my eyes open to a history about the destruction of both America and New Zealand’s forests of which I had previously been unaware.

Pulitzer prize winner Annie Proulx uses the dynasty of two families to explore the European and British colonization of Canada and America. She deftly explores the consequences of colonization on both the formerly great forests of these two countries and the cultures of the people living on the land.

The Duquets family is driven to succeed. To them, success is money, power and a recognised name. The second dynasty, the Sel family, seeks to live and look after their family.

I felt the passion that drives these two entwined family sagas, and the cost that’s paid by the forests and American Indians. I felt the desperation of the families searching for solutions to the deforestation. The belief held by those seeking financial gain was that the natural resource they depended on would simply replenish itself; that there was no consequence to the actions they were taking.

Proulx creates characters that are believable, accessible and who serve to connect the reader to change in the world between 1693 and 2013. Both the Duquet and Sel familys are a tool by which the reader is invited into a world where life is precious, death comes quick, and the forests are falling and fast.

Barkskins inspires you to discover more about the world in which we live, and to try discover more about what we have yet to learn.

Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.