Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book: Close Range, Annie Proulx

(this will be a short review, I'm posting mostly so I don't forget that I've read this book, and also to distract myself because I'm still not feeling well, see end of blog post)

I love Annie Proulx. I adored The Shipping News -- what a strange, beautiful, unusual book! So I was excited to get this, a collection of short stories about Wyoming, including Brokeback Mountain.

I have stated before that I am not a fan of short stories, and I am still not really a fan of short stories. However, I did like these. I read *most* of them, some of them I was just not interested in. I figure that's how you read a short-story collection, you just pick the ones you want to read, right?

Anyway. As always, her writing is amazing, spot-on, completely convincing, beautiful, harsh, clear, evocative but never flowery or overdone. I wish I could write like this.

Stories about Wyoming cowboys, the unforgiving but beautiful landscape, the cows and sweat and dirt and pickups and hard lives, and all the little stories that happen in between the larger tale of the Old West.

Of course my favorite was Brokeback Mountain, and it is an amazing story, and thank goodness the movie does it justice, because this is a story that deserves a beautiful movie. The actors in the movie were perfectly cast, and the mountain in the movie is even more beautiful than I could have imagined from the book. And the story is short, sweet, brutal and devastating. I loved it, loved it.

If I were taking a road trip to Wyoming, I would definitely bring this book along and re-read it. It was excellent. And I don't even like short stories.

I'm reading another set of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, and it's not going as well. D'Arcy and I have long established that we don't 'get' JCO, and I still don't. More on that, later. Feeling too yucky to continue writing.

Quick ear update: still yucky. Still feeling bad. Back to the doctor today at 11:15. Ugh.


Alex said...

I loved "Brokeback" too, both the movie (which I saw first) and the story. I was amazed how well the film captured the story. I wasn't expecting them to be so similar. It felt like I was watching the movie again when I was reading it. I give major props to Proulx because she didn't have the benefit of the natural world filtered through a camera. She conveyed it nearly as well.

And now it's extra poignant since Heath Ledger's death seems just as senseless as Jack Twist's.

I've been to Kanasaskis, Alberta where they filmed the movie. The mountain is called Three Sisters and is in Canmore, Alberta. Gorgeous part of the world. I want to go to Wyoming too... that's on my short list.

Kate said...

Hm, I've only read "The Falls" by JCO and liked it, even though I thought the last third sort of crapped out on the novel (if you don't mind me saying). I'm waiting on "The Gravedigger's Daughter" on right now, though. What did you read and what didn't you like?

Nymeth said...

I have this collection here to read, and I'm looking forward to it even more after reading your thoughts.

PS: I love the title of this blog. That's one of my all time favourite poems :)

Daphne said...

Yes, this one was great, and I do love every thing I've read of Annie Proulx. Would love to see Wyoming!!