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Barkskins Audiobook

Barkskins

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Publisher's Summary

From Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, comes her masterpiece, 10 years in the writing - an epic, dazzling, violent, magnificently dramatic novel about taming the wilderness and destroying the forest, set over three centuries.

In the late 17th century, two illiterate woodsmen, Rene Sel and Charles Duquet, make their way from Northern France to New France to seek a living. Bound to a feudal lord, a seigneur, for three years in exchange for land, they suffer extraordinary hardship, always in awe of the forest they are charged with clearing, sometimes brimming with dreams of its commercial potential.

Rene marries an Indian healer, and they have children, mixing the blood of two cultures. Duquet travels the globe and back, starting a logging company that will prosper for generations.

Proulx tells the stories of the children, grandchildren, and descendants of these two lineages, the Sels and the Duquets, as well as the descendants of their allies and foes, as they travel back to Europe, to China, to New England, always in quest of a livelihood or a fortune or fleeing stunningly brutal conditions - accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, the revenge of rivals.

In this feat of astonishing imagination, Proulx's inimitable genius is her creation of characters who are so vivid - in their greed, lust, vengefulness, sorrow, compassion, and hope - that we follow them with fierce attention. Annie Proulx is one of the most formidable writers of our time, and Barkskins is the story she has been writing all her life: a magnificent American novel.

©2016 Annie Proulx (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What the Critics Say

Praise for Annie Proulx: "One of the greatest American writers." (Independent)
"A sublimely good writer." (Daily Telegraph)
"It is hard to think of any living writer who deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Dickens, with the exception of Proulx." (New Statesman)
"Proulx's prose is monumental." (Observer)
"Like a mystic seeing the transfigured universe, she recreates the beauty of ordinary things." (Independent on Sunday)
"Ms. Proulx writes with all the brutal beauty of one of her Wyoming snowstorms." (Wall Street Journal)
"Annie Proulx is a true original. She has a shrewd understanding of people, a strong feeling for landscape and a wry sense of humour rather like Mark Twain's." (Los Angeles Times)
"Artful, eloquent, wondrous." (Boston Globe)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (94 )
5 star
 (52)
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4.4 (89 )
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4.6 (88 )
5 star
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    DartmoorDiva Dartmoor 30/09/2016
    DartmoorDiva Dartmoor 30/09/2016

    Dartmoor Scribbler

    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
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    "A real tour de force"

    The summary of this book did not appeal but, having just listened to 'The Shipping News' and loved it, I thought I would try my second Annie Proulx. Very glad I did. A fascinating book, beautifully written and well read. I felt it tailed off slightly at the end and became a little preachy, but that is a minor criticism of a long and enthralling novel. I think listening to the audiobook was a good move for me as I tend to struggle with difficult/unfamiliar names. I suspect the written version would be more of a challenge.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scotch-writer 24/12/2016
    Scotch-writer 24/12/2016 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Very detailed story, but couldn't finish"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Maybe. You can tell Annie Proulx researched this novel thoroughly and you do get a strong feel for the settling of North America, from both the colonizers and the colonized. Often very gritty and thorougly detailed, but after awhile the characters become character studies--summations. A character will be there for several chapters and then die out, so I never got fully invested with any of them. I have read other epic novels and loved them, but with so much years passing, it just became a thing of 'OK, what decades are we onto next? Which generation is this now?' Most of the point of views were from the male characters and rarely from the female. I was also quite annoyed by the dialogue of the Native Americans, which seemed to fall on the stereotypical speech of no reflective verbs 'am', 'is', or 'are'. I was expecting 'Me Tonto' at any moment.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Didn't finish the book.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Robert Petkoff?

    Not really. While his accent range was quite amazing and his pronunciation of French and Danish words and names equally so, his narrative voice wasn't particularly exciting or enganging.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fiona 10/11/2016
    Fiona 10/11/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A wonderful book"

    Loved this book and will feel bereft now I've finished it. So many important issues covered with an excellent portrayal of the origins of modern days ecological disasters. Captivating story line, fascinating insight into the history of the timber trade. Cannot praise it enough!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Essex , United Kingdom 02/08/2016
    Amazon Customer Essex , United Kingdom 02/08/2016 Member Since 2013

    moo mac

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Epic & intriguing"

    Great book, flawless performance. Combines family history with ecology & the changes over centuries. Recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Detritus 12/07/2017
    Detritus 12/07/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    10
    4
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    "Ambitious story, but not for one book."
    What did you like best about Barkskins? What did you like least?

    This story covers a period of about four hundred years, starting in the 16th century and finishing pretty much in the present day. It starts with two men arriving in North America as indentured workers for the same man. It follows both these men and their many descendents during the following centuries. In a way it is a story of slow and inevitable decline on the one hand and the naked exploitation of what is considered to be the infinite resources of the environment to build a business empire on the other.<br/><br/>In essence one set of descendents become rich and the other essentially become increasingly impoverished and excluded. There is a strong and compelling ecological narrative throughout the story which rings through to this very day.<br/><br/>The problem for me is that there are so many characters and so many relations that keeping track of, and staying interested in, two family dynasties is difficult. When introduced to a new member of one of the family dynasties you may be seeing them as young initially and then you may not see them again until there are in their final years. Their lives described in between of apparently little significance or interest. That makes it difficult for a reader to engage with the characters. <br/><br/>This is a story that could easily have been expanded out to two or three books. The jumping around from character to character and in time make for difficult reading and it also makes it difficult to really care about and be absorbed by the characters. I also felt a little that by the end of the book it was getting more difficult to create distinct characters and their part of the overall story became increasingly like not much more than vignettes of peoples lives.<br/><br/>There is no doubt about it, this a book with enormous ambition, but unfortunately it's not for me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin C. 08/06/2017
    Kevin C. 08/06/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A powerful book that makes you uncomfortable"

    The book takes you through a historical journey and describes the political and commercial forces and the brutality and abhorrent ignorance with which a whole continent was raped of its ecological strength and the implications on our planet totally ignored.
    It's a clever book that makes its point in the ebb and flow of describing a family dynasty over four hundred years and describes how Native American Indian culture was overwhelmed by white determination and greed.
    It makes a point about where the global effect of stripping and changing the forests will impact on changing the earth irrevocably.
    The words reverberate in me and unsettle me.
    Not a history that we can have an ounce of pride in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MKL 14/05/2017
    MKL 14/05/2017

    inbox49

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    Overall
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    Story
    "Lacks passion"

    Long and lacklustre. Annoying narrator who repeatedly mis-pronounces common words (pasty, plaited, etc.) and read sections as if he either didn't understand them or had just lost interest. Clearly this novel contains topics about which we are meant to take up arms on the side of right. Sadly, I got to the point where I just didn't care anymore.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rose 12/05/2017
    Rose 12/05/2017 Member Since 2017

    I write short stories and love reading. I can't stand poor grammar though. I like most types of books but I don't like erotica or romance.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The story of trees"

    This book is as much the story of trees as told through the generations of two French families settling in canada. it follows the history of the settlements and the obliteration of pine forests and oak as well and of course all the Indian trbes whose lands they stole along the way. However that said it has its faults. For one thing the various wars going on throughout Canada and america during the history of this book are barely touched on though they do come in to it vaguely. Also there is an awful lot of needless info dumping. it's a historical novel so there's not much plot. The dialogue is okay but too many 'saids' for my taste as usual and there's a huge amount of atmosphere and tragedy. It's not a bad book but then again it's not perfect. I'd say though if you want to learn something of the history of early canadian settlers you could do worse than read this though it is very long.

    Now for the narator. Not bad actually. He has to deal with a variety of different languages and accents and he's competent in this if not perfect. I must say when it comes to the French, Scots, English and German accents I've certainly heard worse. So overall I could never give this book five stars but it's tolerably good and the naration could be a lot worse than it is. So go ahead and give this one a go if you have the time and want to learn something of how they did things in centuries past. It says a lot about the way dollars take the place of common sense and how many lessons that could have been learned have not been.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anthea 03/04/2017
    anthea 03/04/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "way too long"

    Beautifully read, but too long, too repetitive, too predictable. not one of her best. perhaps not suited for audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karan Main 25/02/2017
    Karan Main 25/02/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Depth lacking"

    When I started listening I thought this was going to be epic. I felt the author did not always give enough time to allow you to engage and grow with a character before moving on, almost like the amount of years covered in the book did not allow the author to do this. The performance was ok but I almost felt like he needed to move it on as there was a lot to get through. Would I recommend probably not, I have listened to far more entertaining stories which cover generations. Who would I recommend to if I did, probably someone interested in the logging history of North America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Malcolm Hart
    Doncaster East, Vic Australia
    16/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Proulx is brilliant as always."

    An absolutely stunning novel. Proulx could not do more to show us how white colonialism has stolen and then destroyed everything it touched in the name of progress.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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