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BookBrowse Reviews North Woods by Daniel Mason

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North Woods

A Novel

by Daniel Mason

North Woods by Daniel Mason X
North Woods by Daniel Mason
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  • Published:
    Sep 2023, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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Daniel Mason's playful, imaginative fifth work of fiction crosses centuries and genres to tell the history of one patch of forested Western Massachusetts land and its inhabitants.

"History haunts him who does not honor it." This incidental line from Daniel Mason's North Woods encapsulates the spirit of the whole. In surveying the lives and land use changes that have defined one Western Massachusetts site over four centuries, Mason recalls major groups and events in American history — the Puritans, colonial-era conflicts, slavery and abolition — as well as perennial experiences like love, escape, pride, jealousy, devotion, deception, and mental illness. As the years pass, ghosts linger, their presence manifested in unexpected ways in a creative work that also incorporates epistolary elements and biblical allusions.

The book is rather like a linked short story collection. Each chapter is set at a different time and interspersed with documents such as almanac pages, historical reports, journals, letters, photographs, and songs. The style shifts to suit...

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