Annie Proulx's masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in this collection of stories about loneliness, quick violence, and wrong kinds of love. In "The Mud Below", a rodeo rider's obsession marks the deepening fissures between his family life and self-imposed isolation. In "The Half-Skinned Steer", an elderly fool drives west to the ranch he grew up on for his brother's funeral, and dies a mile from home. In "Brokeback Mountain", the difficult affair between two cowboys survives everything but the world's violent intolerance.
These are stories of desperation, hard times, and unlikely elation, set in a landscape both brutal and magnificent. Enlivened by folk tales, flights of fancy, and details of ranch and rural work, they juxtapose Wyoming's traditional character and attitudes, confrontation of tough problems, prejudice, persistence in the face of difficulty, with the more benign values of the new west.
This collection includes:
©1999 Annie Proulx; (P)2004 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
"The author is a true original in every sense of the word, and her evocation of the West is as singular and surprising as that of Cormac McCarthy or Ivan Doig. Close Range is Proulx at her best." (Amazon.com)
House of Books
Like the previous reviewer, I don???t usually enjoy short stories. I don???t know why. In fact, this is the first book of short stories I have downloaded in my many years of being an Audible member. However, unlike the previous reviewer, I highly recommend Proulx???s text. Do realize that Proulx doesn???t provide fairy tale endings. Rather, she captures the ironic nature of living in a world that is ugly and beautiful, cruel and loving, desolate and plentiful. She describes the rich and sometimes impoverished sense of Wyoming and any other open range that seldom embraces an easy life, particularly in human terms. Proulx???s Wyoming and other spaces like Wyoming don???t always tolerate humans. Nevertheless, the humans Proulx describes (and others I???ve known) feel compelled to inhabit (conquer?) these open spaces. She reminds us of human frailty in the midst of large spaces that can???t be conquered. I liked these stories, even if they made me feel small. I liked the surprises even if they weren???t pleasant. I liked the humanity even when it seemed to get lost in acres of snow or mud. And I liked how humanity is frequently defeated even as it is elevated.
English major. Love to read
I will say this upfront: I just returned from a trip to Wyoming, so my heart and mind were ready to hear these stories. You might even say I longed to hear descriptions of the scenery and the hard scrabble characters who populate it. Nonetheless, this group of stories is so full,so beautifully varied and so exquisite ly written that it would probably have been a treat if I had just returned from New Jersey.
I loved Shipping News because of Proulx's descriptions but also her love for her characters whom I might not give a second glance to if I met them in real life- which is my point. The way she immerses you with her language into the lives of these people is to remind you that it is important to take time with everybody who crosses your path. The story Brokeback Mountain is a case in point. As I am walking for my exercise weeping for these two men whose lives connected and disconnected through no fault of their own, I was so thankful to have rediscovered Proulx's artistry.Finally,the three narrators have the Wyoming voice to a tee. Don't skip this one.
I still think of her as E. Annie Proulx, the author of POSTCARDS, that most beautifully vicious and viciously beautiful of American novels. As so many professional authors have pointed out, one generally wins the big awards for the work that follows one's best effort. So the crowd-pleasing SHIPPING NEWS won the more public awards and got the movie treatment.Yes, ACCORDION CRIMES brilliantly and unflinchingly extends the vision--we are all dangerous strangers, outsiders, criminals (if only to ourselves).But the stories in CLOSE RANGE (sure, including Brokeback Mt.; it fits right in) just might give us the fullest realization of the vision of this great American writer. She is on record (see her Paris Review interview) as admitting that she prefers the short story form. And these are E. Annie Proulx at the height of her powers. No one does male need, male anger, male ego and its troubled commingly with its no less lethal female counterpart better than she. The fine Audible readers "get" this great author. Listen. Bow down. E. Annie Proulx gets it right.
I love books, but I particularly love audio books. What a luxury to have someone like Campbell Scott read you to sleep.
Don't even get me started on the amazing Annie Proulx and her powerful stories including those in Close Range. One short story is more amazing than the one before. But in this case, it's not just the writin', it's also the readin'.
I think when it comes to books most people probably say the same thing about audio books that they say when a book comes out as a movie: "The book was better." Not in this case. The narrators are splendid, they have the most wonderful voices. My vote would be that Francis Fisher, Bruce Greenwood and Campbell Scott just read all audio books ever produced. There are no better narrators.
I like postmodernism and parody and poetic language.
This is a great book of stories, playful, sad, and lush. I've read it before, and now getting to listen to it adds multi-dimentional enjoyment to my memories of the text.
But please, Audible, expand the capacity of your bookmarking. I've make bookmarks for class purposes, but sometimes they all suddenly disappear. All that work for nothing!
If you know someone suicidal and want to drive them over the cliff, give this book. I feel like my soul has been assaulted. Ms. Prouix's style is likened to Cormac McCarthy. I like Cormac McCarthy and this is nothing like it. It feels like Prouix' intention is to corrupt my psyche with one disturbing image after another and I suppose for some deviant personalities that is appealing, but not for me.
I am not a fan of short stories, but I bought this book anyway after hearing an excerpt of it on Earshot. What a disappointment! It was the worst book I've ever purchased from Audible. The narrators were good, but the stories left me cold. A couple sounded promising in the beginning, but fell flat at the end.
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