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North Woods Reader’s Guide

By Daniel Mason

North Woods by Daniel Mason


Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Which era of the yellow house would you most like to visit?

2. Which of its residents (permanent or temporary) would you have liked to spend more time with?

3. Novels often follow the same characters through different settings; North Woods follows the same setting through different characters. What was this reading experience like for you?

4. For some characters, the yellow house is a place of refuge and inspiration, for others, an isolated site of captivity. Discuss how the house and its remoteness affected its residents.

5. Daniel Mason employs myriad points of view, writing styles, and genres to tell this story across the centuries. How did these shifting voices affect the narrative?

6. What is the significance of the catamount?

7. The best and worst of human behaviors and experiences are on display in North Woods: love, murder, betrayal, yearning, generosity, madness, envy. What did you make of this?

8. What role do the ghosts play throughout the novel? Does this role change? Discuss.

9. How does Mason bring the local flora and fauna into the novel? What did you make of beetles and spores and seeds sharing the stage with human characters?

10. Who do you imagine the first residents of your home were? Who do you imagine will come after you?

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