*One of Time Magazine’s Most Anticipated Books* Named a Best Book of the Year So Far by The New Yorker *
From Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx, this riveting deep dive into the history of our wetlands and what their systematic destruction means for the planet “is both an enchanting work of nature writing and a rousing call to action” (Esquire).
“I learned something new—and found something amazing—on every page.”—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See and Cloud Cuckoo Land
A lifelong acolyte of the natural world, Annie Proulx brings her witness and research to the subject of wetlands and the vitally important role they play in preserving the environment—by storing the carbon emissions that accelerate climate change. Fens, bogs, swamps, and marine estuaries are crucial to the earth’s survival, and in four illuminating parts, Proulx documents their systemic destruction in pursuit of profit.
In a vivid and revelatory journey through history, Proulx describes the fens of 16th-century England, Canada’s Hudson Bay lowlands, Russia’s Great Vasyugan Mire, and America’s Okeefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. She introduces the early explorers who launched the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and writes of the diseases spawned in the wetlands—the Ague, malaria, Marsh Fever.
A sobering look at the degradation of wetlands over centuries and the serious ecological consequences, this is “an unforgettable and unflinching tour of past and present, fixed on a subject that could not be more important” (Bill McKibben).
“A stark but beautifully written Silent Spring–style warning from one of our greatest novelists.” —The Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Annie Proulx is the author of nine books, including the novels The Shipping News and Barkskins, and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award–winning film. Fen, Bog, and Swamp is her second work of nonfiction. She lives in New Hampshire.
Praise for Fen, Bog & Swamp
“This recent nonfiction book on a small portion of nature packs a punch.” —Book Riot
“An epic look at wetlands across the globe. The book is a gem, a profound way of seeing and feeding our souls with the richness of the fragments we have left, habitats we have an urgent duty to protect and restore.” —Irish Times
“Poetic, wide-ranging, and a display of erudition seldom offered. Whatever opinion or attitude the reader brings to this presentation, it is worth reading for its word art alone!” —San Francisco Book Review
“A fascinating, captivating new book by Annie Proulx [that] reveals the mystery and majesty of fens, bogs, and swamps.” —Garden & Gun Magazine
“In all the book’s sections, the righteous anger of a climate watcher is blended with the beautiful prose this author has been writing for 40 years… This is a stark but beautifully written ‘Silent Spring’-style warning call from one of our greatest novelists.” —Steve Donoghue, Christian Science Monitor
“This haunting tribute to the world’s peatlands is also a deeply researched lament for the draining and destruction of critical habitats that store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests… Proulx’s poetic description of these places, and peat itself, is a pleasure to read.” —Financial Times
“The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Brokeback Mountain and The Shipping News has written a book—really a lengthy, beautifully executed essay—on climate change… In searing prose that merges history and science, Proulx wields her pen like a knife to slowly carve out what’s already lost.” —Bloomberg
“In a way, Proulx points out, the fight to preserve wetlands is a metaphor for the global task of slowing climate change—a failure to see how small acts of destruction add up to something much larger, and a scramble to save ecosystems only when the harms to ourselves become undeniable.” —Wired
“The Pulitzer Prize-winning Proulx ("The Shipping News," "Barkskins") turns to nonfiction, writing about climate change, the history of wetlands, and what their destruction means for the planet.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune