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Editor’s Note

“Unsparing Stories…”

Stark prose & mordant wit fill these tales of grizzled ranchers, broken cowboys & doomed lovers in the Wyoming backcountry.
Justin K.
Scribd Editor
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author of The Shipping News and Accordion Crimes comes one of the most celebrated short story collections of our time.

Annie Proulx's masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in these breathtaking tales of loneliness, quick violence, and the wrong kinds of love. Each of the stunning portraits in Close Range reveals characters fiercely wrought with precision and grace.

These are stories of desperation and unlikely elation, set in a landscape both stark and magnificent -- by an author writing at the peak of her craft.

Topics: Wyoming, American West, Rural, Short stories, Gritty, Cowboys, Female Author, Spare, and Violent

Published: Scribner on Dec 1, 2007
ISBN: 9781416588894
List price: $9.99
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Oddly enough, the book containing Annie Proulx's masterpiece, "Brokeback Mountain," was mostly a dud. I did not finish the book. Most of the stories were uninvolving and often unconvincing.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I think this is Proulx's natural form. The gritty, rugged tales of the midwest rang true.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Anyway, I'm not sure I like being manipulated so easily. I am curious to know how Proulx managed it. Has she written the greatest short story since the Mid-Century anthology? What tricks did she employ? What does she know about the gut-punch Objective-Correlative and how to set it up that makes me heart-sick?Was it sentimentality, was it formulaic at all? Does anyone think that the gay-men writers were envious of the success of her short story? A little stinting in their praise? Is Proulx the greater Artist as I suspect; I don't believe her audience is homosexual men...and anyway why a story sentimentalizing them? Well, she's no panderer. Could it be Art?Andrew Holleran calls BBM her "masterpiece", with the quotation marks. Another gay critic wonders that a woman could pull off such an achievement ... These guys pretend to not know how she managed it. What am I missing here? One of them said he saw the story in the New Yorker, that it was about gay cowboys and so he skipped over it! Is this believable? A gay man who writes stories for a gay audience skips over Proulx' story in the New Yorker! Paraphrasing him--- --------What in the story seems 'flat' is fully achieved by these (male models) in this 'moving' picture! Of the movie, he says, "I stand as a writer, in awe......" Am I to believe this? Later, when he got around to reading the story, he says "it read like a screenplay." Now that's a backhanded compliment, or something. (The filmscript is awful; they all are when read. But the story reads like Aeschylus.) I'm just as susceptible to male pulchritude as the next guy but that's over the top. He was paid to review a movie, not wax poetic about Annie's artistic achievement. (Oh I see how it served his purpose; love the movie for his gay audience while getting paid, and stint the achievement of his fellow writer! Not very generous. But then Annie is not pandering, Not his fellow at all.) Holleran's looking a little “pink” to me. Thanks to Annie, it is clear: He has a pink-stink about him. I now see that he is more Gay than he is human. I don't get it. It must be gay-politics, or gay-diction, maybe it's speaking down to a younger generation. He's not stupid. Maybe he thinks we're stupid. Abysmal. I think he wants to sell me something.It's Art, isn't it? Art has rules, doesn't it?Proulx story is Life-Enhancing. How does she do this?Her characters are not Victims, and they're not repressed, nor 'inhibited'. They are 'limited', and in the middle-of-nowhere-in-particular. Twist was not murdered. That theme only exists as the motive-force in Ennis' mind: Ennis has a Bogyman. Get it?The Artist, God-like, Practises Her Craft.Proulx violently killed Jack and impoverished Ennis. Then she showed Ennis that his life was behind him now. He can die or, live out his span....a survivor: It doesn't matter. The Artist has finished with them; she has told their story. Her purpose is accomplished. She has not written a victimology. She has lifted Ennis and Jack, and ennobled them. And, incidentally, made gay-men Human.Her achievement surpassses the creative limitations of Edmund White and Holloran.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Oddly enough, the book containing Annie Proulx's masterpiece, "Brokeback Mountain," was mostly a dud. I did not finish the book. Most of the stories were uninvolving and often unconvincing.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I think this is Proulx's natural form. The gritty, rugged tales of the midwest rang true.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Anyway, I'm not sure I like being manipulated so easily. I am curious to know how Proulx managed it. Has she written the greatest short story since the Mid-Century anthology? What tricks did she employ? What does she know about the gut-punch Objective-Correlative and how to set it up that makes me heart-sick?Was it sentimentality, was it formulaic at all? Does anyone think that the gay-men writers were envious of the success of her short story? A little stinting in their praise? Is Proulx the greater Artist as I suspect; I don't believe her audience is homosexual men...and anyway why a story sentimentalizing them? Well, she's no panderer. Could it be Art?Andrew Holleran calls BBM her "masterpiece", with the quotation marks. Another gay critic wonders that a woman could pull off such an achievement ... These guys pretend to not know how she managed it. What am I missing here? One of them said he saw the story in the New Yorker, that it was about gay cowboys and so he skipped over it! Is this believable? A gay man who writes stories for a gay audience skips over Proulx' story in the New Yorker! Paraphrasing him--- --------What in the story seems 'flat' is fully achieved by these (male models) in this 'moving' picture! Of the movie, he says, "I stand as a writer, in awe......" Am I to believe this? Later, when he got around to reading the story, he says "it read like a screenplay." Now that's a backhanded compliment, or something. (The filmscript is awful; they all are when read. But the story reads like Aeschylus.) I'm just as susceptible to male pulchritude as the next guy but that's over the top. He was paid to review a movie, not wax poetic about Annie's artistic achievement. (Oh I see how it served his purpose; love the movie for his gay audience while getting paid, and stint the achievement of his fellow writer! Not very generous. But then Annie is not pandering, Not his fellow at all.) Holleran's looking a little “pink” to me. Thanks to Annie, it is clear: He has a pink-stink about him. I now see that he is more Gay than he is human. I don't get it. It must be gay-politics, or gay-diction, maybe it's speaking down to a younger generation. He's not stupid. Maybe he thinks we're stupid. Abysmal. I think he wants to sell me something.It's Art, isn't it? Art has rules, doesn't it?Proulx story is Life-Enhancing. How does she do this?Her characters are not Victims, and they're not repressed, nor 'inhibited'. They are 'limited', and in the middle-of-nowhere-in-particular. Twist was not murdered. That theme only exists as the motive-force in Ennis' mind: Ennis has a Bogyman. Get it?The Artist, God-like, Practises Her Craft.Proulx violently killed Jack and impoverished Ennis. Then she showed Ennis that his life was behind him now. He can die or, live out his span....a survivor: It doesn't matter. The Artist has finished with them; she has told their story. Her purpose is accomplished. She has not written a victimology. She has lifted Ennis and Jack, and ennobled them. And, incidentally, made gay-men Human.Her achievement surpassses the creative limitations of Edmund White and Holloran.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is about as near a perfect short story as I have read. It feels like a prose poem where Annie Proulx has slaved over the placing of every word in order to convey rich emotion in a sparse environment. Loved it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In the 2006 edition I read, 'Brokeback Mountain' was the final story. It made sense of several things: why the collection had been so strongly recommended to me; why that story was chosen for adaptation into a film; and why Proulx has (subsequently) been rated highly as a North American writer. The other stories are not in the same class, not in terms of craft, certainly not in terms of poignancy.That said, there are images and sentences, passages and whole stories with undeniable power, normally thanks to their violence or otherworldliness on the one hand, or their feeling for the harshness of the Wyoming Proulx depicts on the other. 'The Half-Skinned Steer' and '55 Miles to the Gas Pump' are certainly memorable, in different ways and for different reasons. Nonetheless, as a whole, this collection is not short of cliches, and Proulx is apt to resort to the grotesque. I would recommend reading 'Brokeback Mountain' alone, and I would recommend it to anyone - as for the rest, have the discipline (and faith in a stranger on the internet you've no reason to believe!) to resist, unless you're prepared to settle for lower quality in return for quantity.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
this book is one of the most beautifully written collection of short stories i have ever read. proulx turns an incredible array of phrases and metaphors into the stories of cowboys and bullriders, ranch-hands and lovers of the prairie from the 1800s to the present day. her deftness with language is paralleled only by her obvious love and knowledge of the land about which she writes.
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