Barkskins by Annie Proulx
An epic whopper of a novel, spanning generations, from the 1690s, to the modern day, from Canada to China, New Zealand, the USA and Europe.
Barkskins follows two young men, indentured servants who come to Québec to clear land for farming. René, stays on the land, marries a First Nations woman and their descendants become loggers, taking on the seemingly endless tracts ofwilderness on the North American frontier, while struggling with their mixed heritage and blood. The second man, Charles, runs away to look for bigger and brighter things and ends up in Europe He marries into money and starts his own logging company, setting his bloodline up in comfort and wealth. The two family's paths trace the history of North America, through wars, natural disasters and migrations, all shown against the backdrop of the deforestation of the world.
This is signature Proulx - elegiac and sparse, yet personal and heart felt. An epic read, but not for the faint hearted.