100 Notable Books of 2016, by the New York Times
Jared Sperli stashed this in books
Ooh, this looks good! I love the author.
Proulx employs a sophisticated narrative strategy of oscillating focus. Sometimes the techno-commercial practices of a given era are foregrounded, as in this aphorism: “A man — if he’s any good — makes eight axes a day. If he’s no good he can make 10 or 12.”
Proulx pays admirable attention to the dichotomy between 19th-century wasteful American timbering and conservation-oriented German forestry practices, and to the possible symbiosis between Amerindian medicine plants and the healthy trees that surrounded them in pre-logging days. She vivifies these topics through such concisely effective landscape descriptions as this one from 18th-century Maine: “Sometimes he was on dim Indian trails following landmarks almost always obscured by the jagged skyline of conifers, but more often making his way through logging slash and blowdowns.” And while getting all this across, “Barkskins” also manages to follow two French immigrants and their posterity over more than three centuries as they take down the forests of maritime Canada, Maine, New Zealand and Michigan.
By Annie Proulx
717 pp. Scribner. $32.
I had not heard of that book but I like the description.