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Annie Proulx has written some of the most original and brilliant short stories in contemporary literature, and for many readers and reviewers, "Brokeback Mountain" is her masterpiece.
Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands, come together when they're working as sheepherder and camp tender one summer on a range above the tree line. At first, sharing an isolated tent, the attraction is casual, inevitable, but something deeper catches them that summer.
Both men work hard, marry, and have kids because that's what cowboys do. But over the course of many years and frequent separations this relationship becomes the most important thing in their lives, and they do anything they can to preserve it.
The New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for Fiction for its publication of "Brokeback Mountain," and the story was included in Prize Stories 1998: The O. Henry Awards. In gorgeous and haunting prose, Proulx limns the difficult, dangerous affair between two cowboys that survives everything but the world's violent intolerance.

Topics: Wyoming, American West, Short stories, Gritty, Heartfelt, Tragic, LGBTQ, Cowboys, Love, Made into a Movie, and Female Author

Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9781439130971
List price: $9.95
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Beautiful writing befitting a beautiful story.more
I wasn't sure how I'd get on with this, I loved the film but I've never managed to finish an Annie Proulx book before. I'm impressed by how close the film adaptation was to the original text. Very pleased that I've read it.more
This is the first audio book I've 'read'. It was much more akin to listening to a radio play than sitting reading a book. There was no effort involved and by the nuancing of the narrator the book was interpreted for me. It was fast-paced, no time to sit and ponder a paragraph, no natural break between chapters just a pause. I can't say I enjoyed it, it felt fake, it felt like cheating, it felt like the dumbed-down version - all the work done for me and no need to particularly concentrate either, in fact I played spider solitaire and tetris while I was 'reading' the book. I can only think I would use this format again for a book I had to read but couldn't get through.

I find that reading a book, I really concentrate on it, nothing else around me exists, I enter the world of the writer, I might stop and think about what I'm reading once in a while, reread a particularly difficult or beautifully-written paragraph and even enjoy the way book is laid-out, the font, the margins, the spacing, the look of paragraphs on the page, and of course the feel of the paper (I like thick, creamy hardback book pages).

Last year I kept a list on a Goodreads thread of a 100-book a year challenge. I could see with audio books, I could easily increase the number of books I've 'read', but it would feel to me the same as including children's books, too easy an option.

This is only my experience. Others think of audio books in quite different ways and thoroughly enjoy them. I had hoped I would, but nope, I just wasn't feelin' it at all. I would quite like to 'read' an audio book along with someone who enjoys them, a chapter at a time and see if I could get more from it than I had alone.

To move on to a review of the book itself - I found the prose, described by almost everyone to be 'spare' as the opposite, overly descriptive, but this could be the media, perhaps written it reads quite differently. I feel any review of the book is a review of the way the narrator chose to interpret it and not the book itself, so I'm going to end by saying, I enjoyed the book, but not a lot and I enjoyed the media not much at all.more
This was pretty good! It's a very short story but it doesn't feel like that! Proulx is a very talented writer and manages to pack a whole lot of plot into 54 pages. The characters feel very real and the plot was well though out and told in a precise, clear manner. There really is no need for this story to be any longer- it all fits in just fine like this which I think shows a lot of skill on Proulx's behalf. Overall it was a good and memorable book and I'm glad I read it.more
I read this pretty quickly and enjoyed it. While the movie is immensely better than the story it was still great to see the original source material for the movie. I liked this book and would recommend it to anyone that wants to compare the script to the original. Also there are some phenomenal essays by other people that were involved with the movie in this particular edition as well.more
This short novella packs a punch. Jack and Ennis, two young ranch hands, meet one summer while herding sheep on Brokeback Mountain. An intense affair develops between them; both insist that they're not "queer," but neither is able to form attachments that rival what they share together. They see each other occasionally, popping in and out of each others' lives, but Ennis is unable to commit to anything more serious than what they already have. Like I said, the novella is quite short (my copy has 55 pages), but the author doesn't need to fluff up the story. She develops two characters locked in a heartbreaking struggle, and the ending is a gut puncher. Highly recommended.more
A concise, evocative story of thwarted love between two cowboys complicated by the time and place of their relationship. Loved the book, but felt saddened by the fact that society often constrains us and that doing the courageous thing sometimes results in tragic consequences.more
I read this little book in the same evening that I brought it home in one sitting, never got up. It’s short, gripping, descriptive, poignant, heartfelt, simple, tragic, lovely, moving, and shakes you up a bit. To be fair, I’m a huge fan of the movie too. The book and the movie do justice to each other.Jack and Ennis, two men who met as sheep herders for a summer, never identified themselves as gay and don’t know how to label themselves either. “I’m not no queer,” and “Me neither. A one-shot thing. Nobody’s business but ours.” Their love and bond for each other was un-quit-able. (See quote below.) In a mere 53 pages of printed text, Ms. Proulx very powerfully convinces the reader of their eternally attachment in their 20 years of long distance relationship and beyond. Along their journey, also enjoy the author’s simple, yet beautiful and crisp descriptions: lavender sky emptied of color, copper jean rivets hot, etc.Some quotes:Made famous by the movie is the last sentence of this quote.“Try this one,” said Jack, “and I’ll say it just one time. Tell you what, we could a had a good life together, a fuckin real good life. You wouldn’t do it, Ennis, so what we got now is Brokeback Mountain. Everthing built on that. It’s all we got, boy, fuckin all, so I hope you know that if you don’t never know the rest. Count the damn few times we been together in twenty years. Measure the fuckin short leash you keep me on, then ask me about Mexico and then tell me you’ll kill me for needin it and not hardly never gettin it. You got no fuckin idea how bad it gets. I’m not you. I can’t make it on a couple a high-altitude fucks once or twice a year. You’re too much for me, Ennis, you son of a whoreson bitch. I wish I knew how to quit you.” This scene in the movie hit me like a ton of bricks, relating to the shirt Ennis found in the now deceased Jack’s closet still with the blood from their fight. The book does too:“The shirt seemed heavy until he saw there was another shirt inside it, the sleeves carefully worked down inside Jack’s sleeves. It was his own plaid shirt, lost, he’d thought, long ago in some damn laundry, his dirty shirt, the pocket ripped, buttons missing, stolen by Jack and hidden here inside Jack’s own shirt, the pair like two skins, one inside the other, two in one. He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands.” The final sentence of the book – that summarizes their situation:“… if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it.”more
That book was disappointing since I love the movie so much. It reads like a concept for a screen play. The writing style and dialog is just awkward. Even though it only took a few hours to read I felt it was a waste of time.more
Annie Proulx did an excellent job of capturing the voice of a rough edged loner caught up in a relationship he can't publicly embrace, but still refuses to let go. This was a heartbreaking story about prejudice, homosexuality, and a loving relationship that spans years. The imagery was gorgeous and the story was tight and sharp.more
I listened to the audio version of this short novel, which took me through a walk with my dog and the preparation of a simple dinner—just one hour, but that hour was filled to the brim with emotion and gorgeous prose and imagery so vivid that I'm sure I would have imagined a movie in my head even had I not seen the film adaptation already. This story of two young men who let time and circumstance steal by and who never get a chance to fully express their love for one another is incredibly poignant, and speaks to all of us who've experienced loss and missed connections. Great narration by Campbell Scott.more
Brokeback Mountain recounts the love of Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar, a couple of "high school dropout country boys brought up with no prospects." Both are looking for work wherever it can be found. During the summer of 1963 the work brings them together on the summer range of Brokeback Mountain. What begins as a casual relationship evolves into the most important thing in both men's lives, but the strength of their feelings for one another isn't enough to protect against the dark shadow of intolerance.Again I'm mesmerized by Annie Proulx. She tells a story exactly the way I want it to be told and then adds a little something extra. Brokeback Mountain is, of course, heart breaking -- but not gratuitously so. It's a quick read (originally published in a book of short stories) and I'd recommend it to anyone who hasn't read any Proulx yet. Have a tissue handy.more
I am a huge fan of the movie version of Ms. Proulx's short story, however there was something quite hauntingly beautiful about reading the story behind the script.The imagery was amazing - you could easily picture all the events occurring in a sweeping landscape. Of course, it might help that I live in the prairies.More importantly, the love story between these two men is what sticks with you long after you finish reading. Days later, I was still turning some of their conversations over and over in my mind, torn up inside that they could never be in love with one another. There was something about their quick recoil from the label of homosexual that made me terribly sad. They were both so closed up inside that they couldn't even come to terms with their sexual orientation, because admitting it would be detrimental to their social image. What should have been a beautiful love affair become something dirty. The times and their inability to come to terms with their sexual orientation resulted in their life long unhappiness. Nothing upsets me more than that.If you enjoyed the movie or are interested in a short social commentary, take the time to read this story. I promise it will stay with you long after the last page is turned.more
This is a great book about love.It is very different bewteen this book and the others. because this book describes two guys' love. I am extremely like its plot. I have some new minds about the love when I have read it. some people said that the end of this book was too sad. but, in my opinion, it is not sad for me. it is very important that they love each other! So, love is to need courage.more
I guess I'm not the only one that saw the movie before I read the novella-but this is a rare thing: I liked both equally much.Heartwrenching, beautiful!!My thanks to both Ms. Proulx and Mr. Lee!!more
This collection of stories turned out to be an unexpected treasure. It turns out that not only the title short story 'Brokeback Mountain' is in many ways better than the movie (which is itself already moving to the extreme) but not even the best story in the collection. Or rather, many of the stories in the book have moments that rival if not exceed in beauty those found in the title story. Proulx' prose is a marvel to be studied: the language is economical and taut but at the same time extremely precise (for example in the description of cattle, ranching tools and technologies, vegetation, weather,...) and relentlessly attuned to the experience of life on vast and unsympathetic expanses. Human passions of all sorts are described unsentimentally with a raw, brutal precision that rings true to experience through its complete lack of rhetoric. And then there's the language of the ranchers salted with outrageously funny and/or moving metaphors, often anchored to the sense of sublime that comes from feeling very small in a place that is very, very big. Altogether, an amazingly well written book. The kind you plan to re-read to appreciate more in depth.more
I read Annie Proulx's novella, Brokeback Mountain. All fifty-eight pages of it. I know the film version has had great reviews but I think I'll give it a miss. The book was too good. Muscular prose so carefully crafted you can almost smell the two cowboys, their horses and stock, their vehicles and their passion. Must be a landmark fiction, and film - if it is true to the novel - deconstructing, as it does, the West that gave us the myths of John Wayne and the Marlboro Man, leaving in its wake a couple of country gays in a cold and hostile landscape.more
I have wanted to see the movie fashioned after this book for awhile, but put it off until I read the book.Now, years later, I came across this slim little volume while browsing the shelves of a used bookstore.I read it in about half an hour, but was surprised that such a little amount of time had gone by.At a mere 64 pages, "Brokeback Mountain," which is actually a short story, doesn't look like a laborious read. I began reading it flippantly, skeptical about the idea of an epic romance being contained in under 100 pages.However, this book wasn't what I expected.First of all, it wasn't an "epic romance." I had imagined it being much like a man version of "Titanic." And secondly, I certainly didn't see Proulx's powerful writing coming. In such a small amount of paper, the author covers 20 years, and pulls it off more than successfully. "Brokeback Mountain" may be a short story, but it impacts the reader like a full-fledged novel that you've been reading and loving for weeks.Sure, Proulx could have written this tale as a detailed, long, volume. But her writing clearly points out for itself that she doesn't need to.Her simplistic, to the point prose was a bit hard to get used to, but after a few pages, I was thanking her for it. She includes minor little "supporting" details without ever going into them, giving you a picture of a character in a sentence when other writers would take a chapter. Her writing is short and sweet - or, better put - short and unsweet.Because if there is a word that does not describe this book, it is sweet. Annie Proulx writes with unabashed, realistic, often dirty prose. Her tale is straight black coffee - cowboys didn't have fancy espresso machines, whipped cream, and sugary sprinkles, after all.I was impressed at the way she handled the two main character's relationship. There was no "gazing into his beautiful brown eyes" business. There was no romanticizing it, no beautification. It was a solid, honest story about two men. Their relationship begins with unromantic, unfeeling sex, for example. Not passionate sex, or a sex scene that belongs in a Harlequin. Just sex. The feelings come later, but still without touching up, without airbrushing.There was no epic here - it could very believably have been labeled a true story. And if it had been, it wouldn't have been the dramatic, popular story that the Titanic became. Because, fundamentally, this book is quite normal. Jack and Ennis are everyday men with ordinary, average lives. One would probably be inclined to say, in fact, that their lives were more than a bit mundane.But underneath this violent, hardened world that the reader is drawn into, lies, somewhere, a love story.It is not an obvious love story, or an amazing love story - it is simply a love story.Does it need to be anything else?"Brokeback Mountain" and Annie Proulx are without doubt saying that no, it didn't.more
I am so glad I read this before I saw the movie. It really makes you question love and sexuality, and the lack of boundaries of both. The heartbreaking ending alone makes it a masterpiece.more
This is a beautifully written tale of two young men, Ennis and Jack, who develop an abiding (although unnamed) love for one another over the years. Fearing retribution from ignorant and intolerant neighbors, the two men end up marrying women and starting families in different states. However, they continue to see each other for “fishing trips” over the years. Plot wise, not a huge amount happens. Rather, the story is atmospheric, and Proulx manages to pack a heavy punch with nearly every word she writes. Despite the slimness of this volume, both men are richly characterized with differing personalities and back stories adding to their full realizations. Buyer beware on two points though: there is some sexually explicit language and, as might be expected, this is a bit of a depressing story.more
I’ve always wanted to see the film based on this novel, since everyone raved about it when it was released, but put it off until I had read the book. This wasn’t a pressing desire, more a kind of ‘add to the mental To Be Read pile’ notion. In fact, I may have continued to vaguely intend to read it for many more years if it hadn’t been this month’s book group choice.First impressionsI was instantly struck by the slimness of the volume: I’d had no idea that this was a short story. In fact, as this story has a mere 58 small pages of approximately size 14 font, I had time to read a good 16th of it while I waited for the librarian to hunt out the other book I had reserved! If I’d gone to have a coffee, this book probably wouldn’t have made it home unread. Now, while this didn’t exactly put me off, I did wonder whether or not I would enjoy reading it: I’m quite a fan of detailed, winding stories and text. In fact, Charles Dickens is my favourite writer, so next to ‘Hard Times’ or ‘Bleak House’ this looked a little insubstantial!After reading the blurb, I was even more nervous about the degree of reading enjoyment this book could provide. Lonely cowboys? Harsh environment? Danger? It sounded to me quite a bit like ‘Of Mice and Men’, which I love, and I wondered if this would be like my recent ‘Twilight’ experience (verdict: not a patch on ‘Interview with a Vampire’).However, to balance out these concerns – it was 58 pages. And I’d read four of them. Given that, there was no reason to ignore the rest.The plot‘Brokeback Mountain’ follows the hard, lonely lives of Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar in Wyoming ‘thirty years ago’. They meet young and enjoy each other’s company, quickly developing a relationship that jolts into an intense physical affair. As the years pass, they meet infrequently but the passion simmers, ferocious and unabated. Will they ever be able to admit their feelings – even to each other? Can a story set in such harsh terrain have a happy ending?My thoughtsInitially I found the pace moved so quickly and the prose was so slight that I couldn’t really differentiate between the characters. Even after the characters were first physically intimate, I had to go back and reread most of the first few pages to develop a sense of which was which and how they differed. Once I had finally pinned them down, they sustained clearly distinct personalities for the remainder of the story, always acting ‘in character’.Despite the brevity of her prose, Proulx does manage to convey a sense of life when summing up the responses of her characters through telling details. Ennis’ concern with appearances is revealed when ‘he wanted to be a sophomore, felt the word carried a certain distinction’. The unlikelihood of him realising his dreams is also succinctly described: ‘both Jack and Ennis claimed to be saving money for a small spread; in Ennis’s case this meant a tobacco can with two five-dollar bills inside’. Once I had adapted to this concise style, I enjoyed the slower reading pace this encouraged. I felt that I needed to really let the details of their lives sink in, much as Proulx herself had to do in order to write these characters and their lives.The action is spread over twenty odd years so there are some jumps in time but usually the gaps are smoothed over by narrative that briskly fills in the key information. There are very few moments developed in detail which has the effect of heightening those that are developed. At these points, Proulx relies on dialogue to express and simultaneously avoid expressing her character’s true feelings. The tension between Twist and del Mar is emphasised through the forceful vocabulary they use and the silences that pepper these conversations, creating an engaging tale for the reader.Proulx is as concise with her use of events as she is with her use of dialogue. I found the casual references to violence quite shocking, but del Mar’s easy acceptance of violence he has witnessed as a child both reveals the attitudes of his culture and creates a sense of (justified) foreboding. Without ever seeming to ‘push’ the issue of homosexuality, Proulx creates a tender and frustrating tale that forced me to genuinely contemplate the lives these fictional men endured. For me, that made this a successful read.ConclusionI think in a lot of ways this story might be classified as a ‘slow burner’. It took me at least a third of the story to adapt to the style, but once I did so I read with increasing engagement. I hesitate to use the word ‘enjoyment’ because this is a serious story, concentrating on a life-changing relationship.Finally, I have to say that this story made a genuine impact on me. Del Mar concludes, ‘if you can’t fix it, you’ve got to stand it’. My instant response was: I want to fix it! This was followed by a more reasoned deliberation, and I’m still thinking about the issues raised by this book over a week after I finished reading it.Highly recommended.more
The best story I've ever seen about the experience of gay men in America, written by a straight women. Who would have figured. But it's extraordinary.Great film, too.more
I've been on a tear reading the books on which movies that I've seen recently have been based. This one is a short story that was adapted very faithfully, telling Jack and Ennis's story from when they meet on Brokeback Mt to the heartbreaking conclusion. The movie tugged harder on my heartstrings, as it had the time to linger over the tender scenes between the two, and there's not much more in the book than was shown. Overall, a quick enjoyable read.more
Short Story/ novella. Better than the movie in shorter time. The essence of the love that existed is the only driving force in the novella.more
The best love story of our time.more
well, i finally read the story so long after seeing the film. the dialougue is exact. gives some insight into the film.more
Don't buy this book! Yes, I gave it 4 stars for the story, but the book itself (this edition) is 50-ish pages long and costs as much as any other book. I ordered it online and was disappointed by the size vs cost. The story is interesting, but having seen the film, the book seems like a summary of the film. Nice if you forgot how the story went and don't have time to see the whole film :-) If you haven't seen the film, why not buy the Proulx short-story book from which the Brokeback story was taken? I can't remember the title. Proulx stories are always interesting so go for it!more
Many people are familiar with the short or story, or the movie. It is a touching tale told in simple language, without much drama. I highly recommend the story, but do not recommend buying this edition. This is a short story and this mass market is VERY TINY. No way worth a retail price of $9.95! Luckily, I got my copy used. If you want the story, I recommend buying one of the author's anthologies that include it.more
This is my favorite short story ever. Proulx always delivers a good narrative, but this tale ripped me into. The movie was such a gorgeous rendering of an already powerful tale, and I know that's partly because Proulx helped write the screenplay. I recommend both.more
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Reviews

Beautiful writing befitting a beautiful story.more
I wasn't sure how I'd get on with this, I loved the film but I've never managed to finish an Annie Proulx book before. I'm impressed by how close the film adaptation was to the original text. Very pleased that I've read it.more
This is the first audio book I've 'read'. It was much more akin to listening to a radio play than sitting reading a book. There was no effort involved and by the nuancing of the narrator the book was interpreted for me. It was fast-paced, no time to sit and ponder a paragraph, no natural break between chapters just a pause. I can't say I enjoyed it, it felt fake, it felt like cheating, it felt like the dumbed-down version - all the work done for me and no need to particularly concentrate either, in fact I played spider solitaire and tetris while I was 'reading' the book. I can only think I would use this format again for a book I had to read but couldn't get through.

I find that reading a book, I really concentrate on it, nothing else around me exists, I enter the world of the writer, I might stop and think about what I'm reading once in a while, reread a particularly difficult or beautifully-written paragraph and even enjoy the way book is laid-out, the font, the margins, the spacing, the look of paragraphs on the page, and of course the feel of the paper (I like thick, creamy hardback book pages).

Last year I kept a list on a Goodreads thread of a 100-book a year challenge. I could see with audio books, I could easily increase the number of books I've 'read', but it would feel to me the same as including children's books, too easy an option.

This is only my experience. Others think of audio books in quite different ways and thoroughly enjoy them. I had hoped I would, but nope, I just wasn't feelin' it at all. I would quite like to 'read' an audio book along with someone who enjoys them, a chapter at a time and see if I could get more from it than I had alone.

To move on to a review of the book itself - I found the prose, described by almost everyone to be 'spare' as the opposite, overly descriptive, but this could be the media, perhaps written it reads quite differently. I feel any review of the book is a review of the way the narrator chose to interpret it and not the book itself, so I'm going to end by saying, I enjoyed the book, but not a lot and I enjoyed the media not much at all.more
This was pretty good! It's a very short story but it doesn't feel like that! Proulx is a very talented writer and manages to pack a whole lot of plot into 54 pages. The characters feel very real and the plot was well though out and told in a precise, clear manner. There really is no need for this story to be any longer- it all fits in just fine like this which I think shows a lot of skill on Proulx's behalf. Overall it was a good and memorable book and I'm glad I read it.more
I read this pretty quickly and enjoyed it. While the movie is immensely better than the story it was still great to see the original source material for the movie. I liked this book and would recommend it to anyone that wants to compare the script to the original. Also there are some phenomenal essays by other people that were involved with the movie in this particular edition as well.more
This short novella packs a punch. Jack and Ennis, two young ranch hands, meet one summer while herding sheep on Brokeback Mountain. An intense affair develops between them; both insist that they're not "queer," but neither is able to form attachments that rival what they share together. They see each other occasionally, popping in and out of each others' lives, but Ennis is unable to commit to anything more serious than what they already have. Like I said, the novella is quite short (my copy has 55 pages), but the author doesn't need to fluff up the story. She develops two characters locked in a heartbreaking struggle, and the ending is a gut puncher. Highly recommended.more
A concise, evocative story of thwarted love between two cowboys complicated by the time and place of their relationship. Loved the book, but felt saddened by the fact that society often constrains us and that doing the courageous thing sometimes results in tragic consequences.more
I read this little book in the same evening that I brought it home in one sitting, never got up. It’s short, gripping, descriptive, poignant, heartfelt, simple, tragic, lovely, moving, and shakes you up a bit. To be fair, I’m a huge fan of the movie too. The book and the movie do justice to each other.Jack and Ennis, two men who met as sheep herders for a summer, never identified themselves as gay and don’t know how to label themselves either. “I’m not no queer,” and “Me neither. A one-shot thing. Nobody’s business but ours.” Their love and bond for each other was un-quit-able. (See quote below.) In a mere 53 pages of printed text, Ms. Proulx very powerfully convinces the reader of their eternally attachment in their 20 years of long distance relationship and beyond. Along their journey, also enjoy the author’s simple, yet beautiful and crisp descriptions: lavender sky emptied of color, copper jean rivets hot, etc.Some quotes:Made famous by the movie is the last sentence of this quote.“Try this one,” said Jack, “and I’ll say it just one time. Tell you what, we could a had a good life together, a fuckin real good life. You wouldn’t do it, Ennis, so what we got now is Brokeback Mountain. Everthing built on that. It’s all we got, boy, fuckin all, so I hope you know that if you don’t never know the rest. Count the damn few times we been together in twenty years. Measure the fuckin short leash you keep me on, then ask me about Mexico and then tell me you’ll kill me for needin it and not hardly never gettin it. You got no fuckin idea how bad it gets. I’m not you. I can’t make it on a couple a high-altitude fucks once or twice a year. You’re too much for me, Ennis, you son of a whoreson bitch. I wish I knew how to quit you.” This scene in the movie hit me like a ton of bricks, relating to the shirt Ennis found in the now deceased Jack’s closet still with the blood from their fight. The book does too:“The shirt seemed heavy until he saw there was another shirt inside it, the sleeves carefully worked down inside Jack’s sleeves. It was his own plaid shirt, lost, he’d thought, long ago in some damn laundry, his dirty shirt, the pocket ripped, buttons missing, stolen by Jack and hidden here inside Jack’s own shirt, the pair like two skins, one inside the other, two in one. He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands.” The final sentence of the book – that summarizes their situation:“… if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it.”more
That book was disappointing since I love the movie so much. It reads like a concept for a screen play. The writing style and dialog is just awkward. Even though it only took a few hours to read I felt it was a waste of time.more
Annie Proulx did an excellent job of capturing the voice of a rough edged loner caught up in a relationship he can't publicly embrace, but still refuses to let go. This was a heartbreaking story about prejudice, homosexuality, and a loving relationship that spans years. The imagery was gorgeous and the story was tight and sharp.more
I listened to the audio version of this short novel, which took me through a walk with my dog and the preparation of a simple dinner—just one hour, but that hour was filled to the brim with emotion and gorgeous prose and imagery so vivid that I'm sure I would have imagined a movie in my head even had I not seen the film adaptation already. This story of two young men who let time and circumstance steal by and who never get a chance to fully express their love for one another is incredibly poignant, and speaks to all of us who've experienced loss and missed connections. Great narration by Campbell Scott.more
Brokeback Mountain recounts the love of Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar, a couple of "high school dropout country boys brought up with no prospects." Both are looking for work wherever it can be found. During the summer of 1963 the work brings them together on the summer range of Brokeback Mountain. What begins as a casual relationship evolves into the most important thing in both men's lives, but the strength of their feelings for one another isn't enough to protect against the dark shadow of intolerance.Again I'm mesmerized by Annie Proulx. She tells a story exactly the way I want it to be told and then adds a little something extra. Brokeback Mountain is, of course, heart breaking -- but not gratuitously so. It's a quick read (originally published in a book of short stories) and I'd recommend it to anyone who hasn't read any Proulx yet. Have a tissue handy.more
I am a huge fan of the movie version of Ms. Proulx's short story, however there was something quite hauntingly beautiful about reading the story behind the script.The imagery was amazing - you could easily picture all the events occurring in a sweeping landscape. Of course, it might help that I live in the prairies.More importantly, the love story between these two men is what sticks with you long after you finish reading. Days later, I was still turning some of their conversations over and over in my mind, torn up inside that they could never be in love with one another. There was something about their quick recoil from the label of homosexual that made me terribly sad. They were both so closed up inside that they couldn't even come to terms with their sexual orientation, because admitting it would be detrimental to their social image. What should have been a beautiful love affair become something dirty. The times and their inability to come to terms with their sexual orientation resulted in their life long unhappiness. Nothing upsets me more than that.If you enjoyed the movie or are interested in a short social commentary, take the time to read this story. I promise it will stay with you long after the last page is turned.more
This is a great book about love.It is very different bewteen this book and the others. because this book describes two guys' love. I am extremely like its plot. I have some new minds about the love when I have read it. some people said that the end of this book was too sad. but, in my opinion, it is not sad for me. it is very important that they love each other! So, love is to need courage.more
I guess I'm not the only one that saw the movie before I read the novella-but this is a rare thing: I liked both equally much.Heartwrenching, beautiful!!My thanks to both Ms. Proulx and Mr. Lee!!more
This collection of stories turned out to be an unexpected treasure. It turns out that not only the title short story 'Brokeback Mountain' is in many ways better than the movie (which is itself already moving to the extreme) but not even the best story in the collection. Or rather, many of the stories in the book have moments that rival if not exceed in beauty those found in the title story. Proulx' prose is a marvel to be studied: the language is economical and taut but at the same time extremely precise (for example in the description of cattle, ranching tools and technologies, vegetation, weather,...) and relentlessly attuned to the experience of life on vast and unsympathetic expanses. Human passions of all sorts are described unsentimentally with a raw, brutal precision that rings true to experience through its complete lack of rhetoric. And then there's the language of the ranchers salted with outrageously funny and/or moving metaphors, often anchored to the sense of sublime that comes from feeling very small in a place that is very, very big. Altogether, an amazingly well written book. The kind you plan to re-read to appreciate more in depth.more
I read Annie Proulx's novella, Brokeback Mountain. All fifty-eight pages of it. I know the film version has had great reviews but I think I'll give it a miss. The book was too good. Muscular prose so carefully crafted you can almost smell the two cowboys, their horses and stock, their vehicles and their passion. Must be a landmark fiction, and film - if it is true to the novel - deconstructing, as it does, the West that gave us the myths of John Wayne and the Marlboro Man, leaving in its wake a couple of country gays in a cold and hostile landscape.more
I have wanted to see the movie fashioned after this book for awhile, but put it off until I read the book.Now, years later, I came across this slim little volume while browsing the shelves of a used bookstore.I read it in about half an hour, but was surprised that such a little amount of time had gone by.At a mere 64 pages, "Brokeback Mountain," which is actually a short story, doesn't look like a laborious read. I began reading it flippantly, skeptical about the idea of an epic romance being contained in under 100 pages.However, this book wasn't what I expected.First of all, it wasn't an "epic romance." I had imagined it being much like a man version of "Titanic." And secondly, I certainly didn't see Proulx's powerful writing coming. In such a small amount of paper, the author covers 20 years, and pulls it off more than successfully. "Brokeback Mountain" may be a short story, but it impacts the reader like a full-fledged novel that you've been reading and loving for weeks.Sure, Proulx could have written this tale as a detailed, long, volume. But her writing clearly points out for itself that she doesn't need to.Her simplistic, to the point prose was a bit hard to get used to, but after a few pages, I was thanking her for it. She includes minor little "supporting" details without ever going into them, giving you a picture of a character in a sentence when other writers would take a chapter. Her writing is short and sweet - or, better put - short and unsweet.Because if there is a word that does not describe this book, it is sweet. Annie Proulx writes with unabashed, realistic, often dirty prose. Her tale is straight black coffee - cowboys didn't have fancy espresso machines, whipped cream, and sugary sprinkles, after all.I was impressed at the way she handled the two main character's relationship. There was no "gazing into his beautiful brown eyes" business. There was no romanticizing it, no beautification. It was a solid, honest story about two men. Their relationship begins with unromantic, unfeeling sex, for example. Not passionate sex, or a sex scene that belongs in a Harlequin. Just sex. The feelings come later, but still without touching up, without airbrushing.There was no epic here - it could very believably have been labeled a true story. And if it had been, it wouldn't have been the dramatic, popular story that the Titanic became. Because, fundamentally, this book is quite normal. Jack and Ennis are everyday men with ordinary, average lives. One would probably be inclined to say, in fact, that their lives were more than a bit mundane.But underneath this violent, hardened world that the reader is drawn into, lies, somewhere, a love story.It is not an obvious love story, or an amazing love story - it is simply a love story.Does it need to be anything else?"Brokeback Mountain" and Annie Proulx are without doubt saying that no, it didn't.more
I am so glad I read this before I saw the movie. It really makes you question love and sexuality, and the lack of boundaries of both. The heartbreaking ending alone makes it a masterpiece.more
This is a beautifully written tale of two young men, Ennis and Jack, who develop an abiding (although unnamed) love for one another over the years. Fearing retribution from ignorant and intolerant neighbors, the two men end up marrying women and starting families in different states. However, they continue to see each other for “fishing trips” over the years. Plot wise, not a huge amount happens. Rather, the story is atmospheric, and Proulx manages to pack a heavy punch with nearly every word she writes. Despite the slimness of this volume, both men are richly characterized with differing personalities and back stories adding to their full realizations. Buyer beware on two points though: there is some sexually explicit language and, as might be expected, this is a bit of a depressing story.more
I’ve always wanted to see the film based on this novel, since everyone raved about it when it was released, but put it off until I had read the book. This wasn’t a pressing desire, more a kind of ‘add to the mental To Be Read pile’ notion. In fact, I may have continued to vaguely intend to read it for many more years if it hadn’t been this month’s book group choice.First impressionsI was instantly struck by the slimness of the volume: I’d had no idea that this was a short story. In fact, as this story has a mere 58 small pages of approximately size 14 font, I had time to read a good 16th of it while I waited for the librarian to hunt out the other book I had reserved! If I’d gone to have a coffee, this book probably wouldn’t have made it home unread. Now, while this didn’t exactly put me off, I did wonder whether or not I would enjoy reading it: I’m quite a fan of detailed, winding stories and text. In fact, Charles Dickens is my favourite writer, so next to ‘Hard Times’ or ‘Bleak House’ this looked a little insubstantial!After reading the blurb, I was even more nervous about the degree of reading enjoyment this book could provide. Lonely cowboys? Harsh environment? Danger? It sounded to me quite a bit like ‘Of Mice and Men’, which I love, and I wondered if this would be like my recent ‘Twilight’ experience (verdict: not a patch on ‘Interview with a Vampire’).However, to balance out these concerns – it was 58 pages. And I’d read four of them. Given that, there was no reason to ignore the rest.The plot‘Brokeback Mountain’ follows the hard, lonely lives of Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar in Wyoming ‘thirty years ago’. They meet young and enjoy each other’s company, quickly developing a relationship that jolts into an intense physical affair. As the years pass, they meet infrequently but the passion simmers, ferocious and unabated. Will they ever be able to admit their feelings – even to each other? Can a story set in such harsh terrain have a happy ending?My thoughtsInitially I found the pace moved so quickly and the prose was so slight that I couldn’t really differentiate between the characters. Even after the characters were first physically intimate, I had to go back and reread most of the first few pages to develop a sense of which was which and how they differed. Once I had finally pinned them down, they sustained clearly distinct personalities for the remainder of the story, always acting ‘in character’.Despite the brevity of her prose, Proulx does manage to convey a sense of life when summing up the responses of her characters through telling details. Ennis’ concern with appearances is revealed when ‘he wanted to be a sophomore, felt the word carried a certain distinction’. The unlikelihood of him realising his dreams is also succinctly described: ‘both Jack and Ennis claimed to be saving money for a small spread; in Ennis’s case this meant a tobacco can with two five-dollar bills inside’. Once I had adapted to this concise style, I enjoyed the slower reading pace this encouraged. I felt that I needed to really let the details of their lives sink in, much as Proulx herself had to do in order to write these characters and their lives.The action is spread over twenty odd years so there are some jumps in time but usually the gaps are smoothed over by narrative that briskly fills in the key information. There are very few moments developed in detail which has the effect of heightening those that are developed. At these points, Proulx relies on dialogue to express and simultaneously avoid expressing her character’s true feelings. The tension between Twist and del Mar is emphasised through the forceful vocabulary they use and the silences that pepper these conversations, creating an engaging tale for the reader.Proulx is as concise with her use of events as she is with her use of dialogue. I found the casual references to violence quite shocking, but del Mar’s easy acceptance of violence he has witnessed as a child both reveals the attitudes of his culture and creates a sense of (justified) foreboding. Without ever seeming to ‘push’ the issue of homosexuality, Proulx creates a tender and frustrating tale that forced me to genuinely contemplate the lives these fictional men endured. For me, that made this a successful read.ConclusionI think in a lot of ways this story might be classified as a ‘slow burner’. It took me at least a third of the story to adapt to the style, but once I did so I read with increasing engagement. I hesitate to use the word ‘enjoyment’ because this is a serious story, concentrating on a life-changing relationship.Finally, I have to say that this story made a genuine impact on me. Del Mar concludes, ‘if you can’t fix it, you’ve got to stand it’. My instant response was: I want to fix it! This was followed by a more reasoned deliberation, and I’m still thinking about the issues raised by this book over a week after I finished reading it.Highly recommended.more
The best story I've ever seen about the experience of gay men in America, written by a straight women. Who would have figured. But it's extraordinary.Great film, too.more
I've been on a tear reading the books on which movies that I've seen recently have been based. This one is a short story that was adapted very faithfully, telling Jack and Ennis's story from when they meet on Brokeback Mt to the heartbreaking conclusion. The movie tugged harder on my heartstrings, as it had the time to linger over the tender scenes between the two, and there's not much more in the book than was shown. Overall, a quick enjoyable read.more
Short Story/ novella. Better than the movie in shorter time. The essence of the love that existed is the only driving force in the novella.more
The best love story of our time.more
well, i finally read the story so long after seeing the film. the dialougue is exact. gives some insight into the film.more
Don't buy this book! Yes, I gave it 4 stars for the story, but the book itself (this edition) is 50-ish pages long and costs as much as any other book. I ordered it online and was disappointed by the size vs cost. The story is interesting, but having seen the film, the book seems like a summary of the film. Nice if you forgot how the story went and don't have time to see the whole film :-) If you haven't seen the film, why not buy the Proulx short-story book from which the Brokeback story was taken? I can't remember the title. Proulx stories are always interesting so go for it!more
Many people are familiar with the short or story, or the movie. It is a touching tale told in simple language, without much drama. I highly recommend the story, but do not recommend buying this edition. This is a short story and this mass market is VERY TINY. No way worth a retail price of $9.95! Luckily, I got my copy used. If you want the story, I recommend buying one of the author's anthologies that include it.more
This is my favorite short story ever. Proulx always delivers a good narrative, but this tale ripped me into. The movie was such a gorgeous rendering of an already powerful tale, and I know that's partly because Proulx helped write the screenplay. I recommend both.more
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