Annie Proulx’s new novel apparently took five years to write. It takes about five years to read, too, clocking in at a wrist-straining 714 pages. Whether or not it’s worth the effort is an open question. Long novels have a way of defusing serious criticism – the temptation is to just call it a “masterpiece” and leave it at that. Well, Barkskins is no masterpiece. It contains several lengthy stretches of rich, vivid writing, but...
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