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North Woods

By Daniel Mason
North Woods by Daniel Mason digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • A sweeping novel about a single house in the woods of New England, told through the lives of those who inhabit it across the centuries—“a time-spanning, genre-blurring work of storytelling magic” (The Washington Post) from the Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Piano Tuner and The Winter Soldier.

“With the expansiveness and immersive feeling of two-time Booker Prize nominee David Mitchell’s fiction (Cloud Atlas), the wicked creepiness of Edgar Allan Poe, and Mason’s bone-deep knowledge of and appreciation for the natural world that’s on par with that of Thoreau, North Woods fires on all cylinders.”—San Francisco Chronicle

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Time, The Boston Globe, NPR, Chicago Public Library, The Star Tribune, The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, Real Simple, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Bookreporter

When two 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 nonhuman characters alike. An English soldier, destined for glory, abandons the battlefields of the New World to devote himself to growing apples. A pair of spinster twins navigate war and famine, envy and desire. A crime reporter unearths an ancient mass grave—only to discover that the earth refuse to give up their secrets. A lovelorn painter, a sinister con man, a stalking panther, a lusty beetle: As the inhabitants confront the wonder and mystery around them, they begin to realize that the dark, raucous, beautiful past is very much alive.

This magisterial and highly inventive novel from Pulitzer Prize finalist Daniel Mason brims 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 one another. It is not just an unforgettable novel about secrets and destinies, but a way of looking at the world that asks the timeless question: How do we live on, even after we’re gone?

38 Reviews

Surprised Face with Open Mouth“I can't even nail down what genre this is, let alone how to talk about it. If you'd asked me two thirds of the way through, I'd have said historical gothic, but 'sad, sometimes spooky window into the past' doesn't describe it fully, and the 'Nature as edenic/paradise lost and found=environmental concerns' seems clear only after I finished the book. The writing is incredible, the shift in modes of storytelling weaving together an ongoing narrative is an impressive technical feat, while the prose itself is at turns beautiful and wistful, incendiary and dark. If you can survive the toxic melodrama of chapter three, I think you'll be richly rewarded. I'll think I'll be considering everything this book is and says for a long time.”
Beautifully writtenOriginal writingUnpredictableDarkHeartbreakingThought-provokingHomophobiaRacismSelf-harm
Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes“The north woods of Massachusetts and its history - told through the stories of its inhabitants, is the star of this uniquely structured novel. It's a reminder that life is everywhere, nothing is static, and that the smallest breeze or being can cause reverberations for generations to come. These 12 stories take various forms from short stories, verses, notes, clippings, and are accompanied by haunting illustrations and photographs. I would rate the individually human-centered stories 3-4 stars, but weaving them together and adding some gorgeous nature-writing, Daniel Mason has created magical wonder. Special note: Ch. 8 covers a hilariously steamy mating session of scolytid beetles - David Attenborough needs to take notes.”
Beautifully writtenDescriptive writingOriginal writingBeautiful settingDark settingImmersive settingMagical settingRealistic settingViolence

About Daniel Mason

Daniel Mason is the author of The Piano Tuner, A Far Country, The Winter Soldier, and A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages, adapted for opera and the stage, and awarded, among others, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Joyce Carol Oates Prize, a California Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, and a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is an assistant professor in the Stanford University department of psychiatry.

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