From Annie Proulx — the Pulitzer Prize — and National Book Award-winning author of 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, René Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a “,” for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters — barkskins. René 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 is her greatest novel, a magnificent marriage of history and imagination.
Annie Proulx has written some of the most original and brilliant short stories in contemporary literature, and for many readers and reviewers, Brokeback Mountain is her masterpiece.
Brokeback Mountain was originally published in The New Yorker. It won the National Magazine Award. It also won an O. Henry Prize. Included in this volume is Annie Proulx's haunting story about the difficult, dangerous love affair between a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy. Also included is the celebrated screenplay for the major motion picture " Brokeback Mountain," written by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. All three writers have contributed essays on the process of adapting this critically acclaimed story for film.