north woods

North Woods by Daniel Mason (2023 fiction)

This is a saga beginning in Pilgrim times and ending in modern day. There are dozens of interlinked stories, interspersed with illustrations, poems, letters and even a page from the
Farmer’s Almanac. The main character in the book is the yellow house in the North Woods where generations dwell within. Inhabitants include a former soldier who plants an apple orchard, his daughters who never marry, an artist, and a movie star. The New York Times review said, “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.” Mason, an assistant professor in Stanford’s School of Psychiatry, is a lyric writer. I loved his description of the soldier’s daughters: “If life was a song, theirs was more of a refrain, than a verse.” So apt! This book is a banquet of stories. Be prepared for the unexpected. Don’t miss it!

Reviewed by Robin Olivier