The best collection of short stories I've ever read. Not one dud in the bunch. Great characters, great dialog , located in a fabulous and appropriate environment. These are not linear stories. They seem to grow out of that landscape.
I love a good short story, and I love stories of the western US. What a great book for me!
Proulx has a wonderful flavor to her writing, and her love for Wyoming rings through each story. Some tend to quirky, but the collection holds together well.
How interesting to read "Brokeback Mountain", the short story, so many years after the controversial movie was released. Proulx's original story is frank and sad in the telling.
Like short stories? Read these.
Like the American West? Ditto.
? ?Brokeback Mountain? in Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx, 2000, Scribner (Literary Fiction/ Historical Fiction/ Romance/ Short Stories)
Before ?Brokeback Mountain? was a critically acclaimed and controversial film from director Ang Lee, it was a small love story tucked in the pages of author Annie Proulx?s collection, Close Range: Wyoming Stories. The stories share a common setting?the big sky open country of Wyoming?and have common themes of love, family, and emotional survival as well. But ?Brokeback Mountain? is certainly one of the more memorable tales. Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar are roughnecks, country boys brought up through hard work to expect a life of more of the same. When they meet on a job one summer in 1963, herding sheep up and down Brokeback Mountain, they don?t expect to fall in love?and certainly not with each other. But when a sudden, almost wordless passion overwhelms them, Jack and Ennis welcome a chance at real human connection. After their summer fling, the cowboys return to their separate lives and as the years pass, those lives include steady jobs, wives, and children. These scenes of traditional domesticity are forever disturbed when Jack and Ennis reunite and rekindle what becomes a twenty-year love affair. These twenty years, despite the closeness Jack and Ennis share, are not easy?for the couple, for their families, or for the reader. Proulx?s terse, straight-forward prose is ideally suited to conveying the pent-up pains and passions of these unbreakable men who know how they feel but haven?t the words, means, or opportunities to declare it. The Close Range collection was named one of Library Journal?s Best Books of the year and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (which Proulx won in 1993 for her novel The Shipping News); ?Brokeback Mountain? was singled out for an O. Henry Award and The New Yorker won a National Magazine Award for Fiction when it published the story first in 1998. The gender and orientation of the lovers in ?Brokeback Mountain? may be other than ordinary, but few can deny the heart-wrenching power of this simple country story.
I rarely get through a Proulx title without remarking, "man, how do you get to write like that?",This collection of gritty, near perfect tales elicits that same reaction. I can't think of anyone better at drawing the fine details of a particular region & its infinitely compelling "characters." This slim volume spawned an Academy Award winning film ("Brokeback Mountain"), and an O.Henry award, plus inclusion in John Updike's Best American Short Stories of the Century ("Half-Skinned Steer").
Finalist of the 2000 Pulitzer prize for fiction.
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