'The best new writer of fiction in America. The best.' John Irving Meet Samuel: stalled writer, bored teacher at a local college, obsessive player of online video games. He hasn't seen his mother, Faye, in decades, not since she abandoned her family when he was a boy. Now she has suddenly reappeared, having committed an absurd politically motivated crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a divided America. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she's facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel's help. As Samuel begins to excavate his mother's - and his country's - history, the story moves from the rural Midwest of the 1960s, to New York City during Occupy Wall Street, back to Chicago in 1968 and, finally, to wartime Norway, home of the mysterious Nix. Samuel will unexpectedly find that he has to rethink everything he ever knew about his mother - a woman with an epic story of her own, a story she has kept hidden from the world.
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LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR
From Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, comes her masterwork: an epic, dazzling, violent, magnificently dramatic novel about the taking down of the world's forests.
In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, Rene Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a "seigneur," for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters - barkskins. Rene suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing. He is forced to marry a Mi'kmaw woman and their descendants live trapped between two inimical cultures. But Duquet, crafty and ruthless, runs away from the seigneur, becomes a fur trader, then sets up a timber business. Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years - their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditions; the revenge of rivals; accidents; pestilence; Indian attacks; and cultural annihilation. Over and over again, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse.
Proulx's inimitable genius is her creation of characters who are so vivid - in their greed, lust, vengefulness, or their simple compassion and hope - that we follow them with fierce attention. Annie Proulx is one of the most formidable and compelling American writers, and Barkskins is her greatest novel, a magnificent marriage of history and imagination.
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City on Fire
New York. 1977. Be There When It Explodes. It's New Year's Eve, 1976, and New York is a city on the edge. As midnight approaches, a blizzard sets in - and amidst the fireworks, an unmistakable sound rings out across Central Park. Gunshots. Two of them. The search for the shooter will bring together a rich cast of New Yorkers. From the reluctant heirs to one of the city's greatest fortunes, to a couple of Long Island kids drawn to the punk scene downtown. From the newly arrived and enchanted, to those so sick of the city they want to burn it to the ground. All these lives are connected to one another - and to the life that still clings to that body in the park. Whether they know it or not, they are bound up in the same story - a story where history and revolution, love and art, crime and conspiracy are all packed into a single shell, ready to explode. Then, on July 13th, 1977, the lights go out in New York City.
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