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North Woods

av Daniel Mason

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
8385226,234 (4.18)74
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 nonhuman 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."--!cProvided by publisher.… (mer)
  1. 20
    The Overstory av Richard Powers (allthegoodbooks)
    allthegoodbooks: Episodic and focused on trees and people
  2. 00
    Greenwood av Michael Christie (allthegoodbooks)
    allthegoodbooks: the rise and fall of a family whilst the trees surround and endure
  3. 00
    A House Through Time av David Olusoga (allthegoodbooks)
    allthegoodbooks: Non-fiction, set in the UK tells the historical story of a house in Bristol from being built until today.
  4. 00
    Unsettled Ground av Claire Fuller (allthegoodbooks)
    allthegoodbooks: Links to a part of the book - Osgood's Wonder and the life of the twins following their father's death
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» Se även 74 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 44 (nästa | visa alla)
This is the story of a house outside of Boston, deep in the wood, deep in the mountains. It’s a story of the land it was built on, and the human, plant and animal lives that touched it for a few years or a few generations along the centuries of the house’s existence.

At first it was only a shack, sheltering a young woman taken hostage by Natives whose village had been burned. Next it provided shelter for a Puritan couple, forbidden to marry until they took matters into their own hands and ran to the wilderness to forge a life for themselves.

In the time of the French and Indian war, a boy showed a wanderer an apple tree on the property with the best apples he had ever eaten … and the house became a farmhouse, home to the man and his two daughters as they launched a new variety of apples onto the world.

But humans after all have such short life spans – although some of them never left the place even after their passing. And some like the painter and the poet, returned after their deaths to the place where they had been their happiest and where they could noisily enjoy their forbidden love together for ever – much to the consternation of the woman who could hear them.

Until the house itself passed onward and the land still remained.

I found this to be beautifully written and quite compelling. – there are such a variety of people whose lives touched this place. ( )
  streamsong | May 25, 2024 |
Unusually structured in an intriguing way. Focuses on a particular yellow house in rural wooded Massachusetts and tells the connected of its various inhabitants over 4-5 centuries. The house bears witness to the history within its walls and on its property. Not all its inhabitants lead happy lives--some meet violent ends. But, they all leave something of themselves behind literally or figuratively. Contains an element of the supernatural, but not distractingly so--it serves the story well.

Particularly interesting as it is suggestive of couple of themes:

1) a ghostly presence of history survives
2) in death there can be a regeneration of life

Recommended -- will probably be one of my top 10 reads this year...and it's been a good reading year so far. ( )
  angiestahl | May 12, 2024 |
I read widely enough to appreciate the fact that truly original, gifted storytelling is a rare and precious thing. Daniel Mason’s North Woods is the first book in a while to join the rarified pantheon of books that surprised and delighted me.

The novelty of the storytelling makes it hard to communicate the magic of the novel in the form of a summary or book review. At the most basic level, I suppose you’d characterize this the chronological tale of a single plot of land in the remote north woods of New England, a place that alternatively serves as a refuge, home, and/or prison to a succession of organisms - human, animal, vegetable – that occupy the land over the course of generations. Mason doesn’t confine himself to narration but expands his storytelling toolkit to include everything from photographs to sonnets, vintage almanac pages to snippets of birdsong, letters, botanical drawings, journals, topographical maps - even excerpts from a tantalizingly trashy tabloid.

But in Mason’s world, time isn’t a river that travels in one direction; rather, it’s a geologic accretion, events piling up one atop the other, each stratigraphic layer impacting the shape of the layer above, with tectonic events occasionally collapsing the layers into each other. Relics abandoned by previous owners resurface, altering the paths of the lives of those who come after. Lives, loves, and secrets carve metaphorical initials in the walls of the house that appears, expands, transforms, and decays as the generations pass. Ghosts of the past – some figurative, others literal – linger and interact with the present.

Each stratigraphic layer/mini-narrative possesses its own unique protagonist, plot, and sense of period. Some of the narratives are hopeful, some comic, some tragic, some poignant. What they share in common are depths of imagination, precision, and compassion, all couched in prose that is vivid and lyrical. The members of my book club each took a stab at identifying their favorite “geological layer” – what does it say that no two of us agreed on the same one?

Mason's use of nature as a metaphor for a multitude of human experiences (hope, beauty, loneliness, exile, inspiration, refuge, madness …) is artful without feeling contrived, and sets the stage for the novel’s overarching theme, which seems to be “The only way to understand the world as something other than a tale of loss is to see it as a tale of change.” A fitting motif for this tale that explores the fragility of human aspiration and the unfathomable mysteries of the universe, but also celebrates the ultimate transcendency of life. ( )
  Dorritt | May 6, 2024 |
Listed 0n New York Times Book Review as one of 10 Best Books of 2023
  JimandMary69 | Apr 28, 2024 |
https://www.instagram.com/p/C6TuDwwrF-u/

Daniel Mason - North Woods: A perfectly exquisite ghost story (or rather, stories). #cursorybookreviews #cursoryreviews ( )
  khage | Apr 28, 2024 |
Visa 1-5 av 44 (nästa | visa alla)
Because Mason’s novel operates in such a robust variety of styles and voices, it is — perhaps more than its arboreal literary brethren — an unusually spectacular showcase of the various powerful responses that nature provokes in us, from wonderment to utter derangement ... If the episodes that make up North Woods are largely grim, Mason’s delivery is a pleasure, fueled by his exuberance at inhabiting the unique voices of a clutch of characters ... The fractured storytelling is all the better to suggest that, like the trees, humanity doesn’t operate in isolation.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraLos Angeles Times, Mark Athitakis (betalvägg) (Dec 19, 2023)
 
Gorgeous ... Manages, impressively, to balance both the narrow and the long view, intimately focusing on the lives of each of the house's inhabitants, yet expansively encompassing American history, natural history, and the relentless march of time and the cycle of the seasons ... It is the elegance with which Mason spins and links these stories in 12 chapters (each roughly connected to a different month) that truly dazzles ... here is nothing meager about this book, or Daniel Mason's talent.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraNPR, Heller McAlpin (Sep 19, 2023)
 
Mason’s historical fiction...brilliantly combine the granularity of realism with the timeless, shimmering allure of myth. His new novel, North Woods, promises — and delivers — more of the same ... A hodgepodge narrative, brazenly disjointed in time, perspective and form. Letters, poems and song lyrics, diary entries, medical case notes, real-estate listings, vintage botanical illustrations, pages of an almanac ... That North Woods proves captivating despite its piecemeal structure is testament to Mason’s powers as a writer, his stylish and supple narrative voice ... The secret of North Woods, its blending of the comic and the sublime, lies in the way Mason, deftly toggling between the macro and micro, manages to do both. He not only acknowledges cosmic indifference but celebrates it, even as he pauses to recognize the humans who experience jubilation and heartbreak as they wend their way toward oblivion. This is fiction that deals in minutes and in centuries, that captures the glory and the triviality of human lives. The forest and the trees: Mason keeps both in clear view in his eccentric and exhilarating novel.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraNew York Times, Rand Richards Cooper (betalvägg) (Sep 19, 2023)
 
Haunting, haunted ... The literary gods are inscrutable — the book club overlords even more so — but I’m praying you’ll consider getting lost in North Woods this fall. Elegantly designed with photos and illustrations, this is a time-spanning, genre-blurring work of storytelling magic ... Mason isn’t just passively watching the evolution of this site in the forest. Each chapter germinates its own form while sending out tendrils that entwine beneath the surface of the novel ... Revelatory.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraWashington Post, Ron Charles (betalvägg) (Sep 13, 2023)
 
...spectacular ghost story ... Mason interleaves his crystalline prose with enchanting and authentic-seeming historical documents, including a Native American captivity narrative, psychiatrist case notes, and pulpy true crime reportage. Each arc is beautifully, heartbreakingly conveyed, stitching together subtle connections across time. This astonishes.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraPublisher's Weekly (Jul 31, 2023)
 
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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 nonhuman 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."--!cProvided by publisher.

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