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North Woods cover art

North Woods

By: Daniel Mason
Narrated by: Arthur Morey, Billie Fulford-Brown, George Newbern, Jason Culp, Jayne Entwistle, Kirsten Potter, Mark Bramhall, Mark Deakins, Michael Crouch, Mr Simon Vance
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Summary

A sweeping novel about the transformation of a single house in the woods of New England, told through the lives of those who inhabited it across the centuries - a daring, moving tale of memory and fate from the Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Piano Tuner.

When a pair of young lovers abscond from a Puritan colony, little do they know that their humble cabin in the woods will become the home of an extraordinary succession of human and inhuman characters alike. An English soldier, destined for glory, abandons the battlefields of the New World to devote himself to apples. A pair of spinster twins navigate war and famine, envy and desire. A crime reporter unearths a mass grave - only to discover that the ancient trees refuse to give up their secrets. A lovelorn painter, a sinister conman, a stalking panther, a lusty beetle: as each inhabitant confronts the wonder and mystery around them, they begin to realize that the dark, raucous, beautiful past is very much alive.

In his transcendent fourth novel, Pulitzer Prize finalist Daniel Mason delivers a magisterial and highly inventive tale brimming with love and madness, humor and hope. Following the cycles of history, nature and even language, North Woods shows the myriad, magical ways in which we're connected to our environment, to history and to each other. It is not just an unforgettable novel about buried secrets and inevitable fates, but a way of looking at the world.

©2023 Daniel Mason (P)2023 Penguin Random House Audio

Critic reviews

North Woods is a sui generis work of pure brilliance, an epic...with a miniaturist's precision. Daniel Mason has unearthed, in the centuries-spanning history of a single New England home, a universal story of loss and reclamation. This is the best book I've read in ages (Anthony Marra, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury Pictures Presents)

What listeners say about North Woods

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quite remarkable. the best thing I've listened to in ages.

this book is a marvel and beautifully unique. excellent narration. it will not let you leave until you reach the conclusion.

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A really satisfying story

I enjoyed this fascinating book from beginning to end. It is beautifully written and read in this audiobook. A wonderful interweaving of the story of the humans who lived in this place, with all their quirks, and nature which is appreciated by some of them, but sadly, as in real life, not enough of them to prevent it from being harmed.

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Excellent

Beautifully written. Compelling and complex characterisation. Totally innovative. Several stories spanning centuries cleverly linked by an apple orchard. A thorough pleasure.

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Brilliant story

Loved the intricacies of all the stories. One of my favourite ever books. Didn’t want it to end

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The narration was wonderful a masterpiece

The timeline of the yellow house it’s shifting fortunes even the wildlife that inhabit it.
A book I shall recommend it’ll stay with me

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Extraordinary wonderful fiction

A device for a set of short stores but hangs together as a novel. Gripping, meaningful and ingenious.

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Beautiful story telling

A truly stunning story, beautiful, quirky and intriguing. I will definitely listen to this again.

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Loved it so much I bought a physical copy.

To quote Alice Jolly's review of this book in the Guardian.. 'A fragmentary history of a small patch of woodland in New England. The narrative begins in the 1760s and continues through to the present day – and then moves further into some undated moment in the future. It tells the story of a “remote station of the north woods” in Massachusetts, and a lemon-yellow house with a tall black door that is built in this “hilly, snow-dusted country” which lies towards “sun’s fall." The story is told in fragments that capture the lives of the inhabitants of this place.'
I can't really offer a synopsis any better than that. This is beautifully written, read (and occasionally, sang) by a cast of brilliant narrators, and I loved it so much I went and bought a physical copy.

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Environmental history

I got a bit bored with the main narrators voice but if not well read.Superb collection of linked vignettes

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Lyrical prose disguised as fiction

This book is beautifully written and then told wonderfully. I loved hearing of the beauty of the woods and the changes as well as the things that stay the same. Such vividly written stories with such diverse characters. Really worth the read.

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