North Woods is a monumental achievement of polyphony and humanity. Relating the narrative of an entire country via a single plot of land, it sweeps the reader through hundreds of years and an array of protagonists with a deft, heartbreaking, idiosyncratic zeal. I loved it.
North Woods is a sui generis work of pure brilliance, an epic written with a miniaturist's precision. Daniel Mason has unearthed, in the centuries-spanning history of a single New England home, a universal story of loss and reclamation. This is the best book I've read in ages
Ambitious, alive, and lush with generosity, North Woods is an immersive sprint through time. It offers an inventive portrait of the individual and the collective, a vivid history of a cabin and a country, inhabiting each of its characters with a compassion that took my breath away. I emerged from this book as though from an enchanted forest, covered in leaves and changed by what I had seen there. Electrifying
Virtuosic, astonishing, gorgeously vivid
The story of a house, the humans who inhabit it, the ghosts who haunt it, and the New England forest encompassing them all . . . Readers will find themselves in an entrancing fictional realm where the human, natural, and supernatural mingle, all captured in the author's effortlessly virtuosic prose . . . Throughout, this loose and limber novel explores themes of illicit desire, madness, the occult, the palimpsest of human history, and the inexorable workings of the natural world (a passage recounting the fateful mating of an elm bark beetle is unforgettable), all handled with a touch that is light and sure. Like the house at its center, a book that is multitudinous and magical.
Mason follows the inhabitants of a secluded western Massachusetts home and their tragedies across centuries in this spectacular ghost story . . . [He] interleaves his crystalline prose with enchanting and authentic-seeming historical documents . . . Each arc is beautifully, heartbreakingly conveyed, stitching together subtle connections across time. This astonishes
A magisterial mosaic . . . truly triumphant
Narrative expertise is supported by rich characterisation: in chapter after chapter, Mason swiftly realises his compelling, varied cast . . . It seems almost a magic trick, the way in which Mason knits his lives into a single tale. He links their stories together with a satisfying subtlety that never fails to surprise and delight . . . and he brings well-earned surprises that had me, on more than one occasion, gasping with shock
Epic . . . weaves a Cloud Atlas-style narrative of humanity under pressure and nature under threat
Daniel Mason's latest novel is one of those rare books that truly deserves the description "spellbinding"
Creates a tale of sensory obsession to rank with Patrick Suskind's Perfume . . . Shows us what is possible when a writer lets his hair down
Adopting a variety of styles and literary forms, and written in elegant prose, this is a virtuoso performance. All human life and nature is here. Truly outstanding
'This is a time-spanning, genre-blurring work of storytelling magic . . . The only constants are the land and Mason's genius'
Epic, playful, polyphonic . . . Daniel Mason's formal innovation and narrative depth combine to transcendent effect, illustrating the wondrous ways in which we are rooted in our surroundings and history
This is a brave and original book, which invents its own form. It is both intimate and epic, playful and serious. To read it is to travel to the limits of what the novel can do
Mason may not yet be a household name, but his readers tend to be evangelical about his talent - and little wonder . . . Mason has the born storyteller's gift of knowing how to reignite your interest in a new scenario even as you're mourning the one just gone
An enthralling novel
Mason teases out the joy and meaning in the sometimes small lives of his characters. North Woods has been heaped with praise and hype, and deservedly so. This is a book that treats life as a miracle and demands the proper awe from its readers
Daniel Mason's dazzling sixth book is so enchanting that readers will need at least a week to come down after reading it. Mason is . . . pushing the boundaries of what the novel form can be . . . It's mesmerising and invigorating and an experience that I urge everyone to try
A moving, masterful, and ambitious tale of memory and fate
Set in a single home in the forests of Massachusetts, the interconnecting stories of this enthralling novel span four centuries. A timely musing on what and who are lost to history.
My novel of the year . . . An absolute feast of American political, agricultural, religious, culinary and social history built around the people, animals and plants that occupy one lush spot in the New England countryside over centuries, it's a little piece of magic
Set in a single home in the forests of Massachusetts, the interconnecting stories of this enthralling novel span four centuries. It offers a timely musing on what and who are lost to history.