Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks
E. Annie Proulx's first novel, Postcards, winner of the 1993 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction, tells the mesmerizing tale of Loyal Blood, who misspends a lifetime running from a crime so terrible that it renders him forever incapable of touching a woman.
Blood's odyssey begins in 1944 and takes him across the country from his hardscrabble Vermont hill farm to New York, across Ohio, Minnesota, and Montana to British Columbia, on to North Dakota, Wyoming, and New Mexico and ends, today, in California, with Blood homeless and near mad. Along the way, he must live a hundred lives to survive, mining gold, growing beans, hunting fossils and trapping, prospecting for uranium, and ranching. In his absence, disaster befalls his family; greatest among their terrible losses are the hard-won values of endurance and pride that were the legacy of farm people rooted in generations of intimacy with soil, weather, plants, and seasons.
Postcards chronicles the lives of the rural and the dispossessed and charts their territory with the historical verisimilitude and writerly prowess of Cather, Dreiser, and Faulkner. It is a new American classic.

Topics: United States of America and Family

Published: Scribner on Dec 1, 2007
ISBN: 9781416588917
List price: $11.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Postcards
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

This was an amazing piece of writing; I had never heard of author before and was blind-sided. I was surprised to discover she also wrote Brokeback Mountain which I will not read - but will definitely read Shipping News. She paints a grim scene, indeed, but has a marvelous story-telling ability.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I think what struck me about Postcards was how powerful the language was. While the plot was hard and gritty, the way it was told was strong and confident. Almost like someone yelling emphatically, if that makes sense. It's the story of a farming family in New England. They are torn apart by the departure of the eldest son, Loyal. He has just killed his girlfriend and left her body under a pile of rocks in a nearby field. While the death was an accident, Loyal's leaving and the slow disintegration of the farm was not. Tragedy follows the family wherever they go. The beauty of the saga is how each chapter is punctuated with a postcard. It's these postcards that illustrate the changing times both for the nation and the family. Loyal often writes home, careful not to tell anyone where he really is. He continues to stay disconnected and this is apparent in what he shares with his family.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I have never read anything else by E. Annie Proulx; two of her other books were recommended to me by the friend who passed on Postcards. Postcards follows the Blood Family from their life as hardscrabble farm family to scattered individuals struggling to find out who or what they are. The book opens with Loyal, supportive son and apparent heir to the farm, raping and murdering his girlfriend. He hides her body and runs from home, family, and farm. Without Loyal's help Mink and his disabled son Dub cannot keep up with the work of the farm. Jewell and her daughter Mernelle have as much work as they can handle without taking on "barn chores". While Loyal wanders the country, working hard all the while, the family separates and the farm declines. Mink and Dub are caught in an insurance scam; Mink loses all but Dub goes from Vermont to Florida and discovers a whole new way of life. Jewell and Mernelle make better choices (though whether Mernelle is moving her dependency from her father to another man is debatable and debatedly better). Loyal moves across the country sending postcards back to his family. He goes from despair and self-loathing to apathy and then to a sort of acceptance of himself where he can see the good. He helps people, he survives, and he makes friends. In the end, the family members have come to be characters in themselves, individually important and complex in a way that they never could be as part of the Blood Family. Well, except for Mink, the family as a whole was who he was and he couldn't survive the breakup. Isn't that sadder than struggling and surviving?read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

This was an amazing piece of writing; I had never heard of author before and was blind-sided. I was surprised to discover she also wrote Brokeback Mountain which I will not read - but will definitely read Shipping News. She paints a grim scene, indeed, but has a marvelous story-telling ability.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I think what struck me about Postcards was how powerful the language was. While the plot was hard and gritty, the way it was told was strong and confident. Almost like someone yelling emphatically, if that makes sense. It's the story of a farming family in New England. They are torn apart by the departure of the eldest son, Loyal. He has just killed his girlfriend and left her body under a pile of rocks in a nearby field. While the death was an accident, Loyal's leaving and the slow disintegration of the farm was not. Tragedy follows the family wherever they go. The beauty of the saga is how each chapter is punctuated with a postcard. It's these postcards that illustrate the changing times both for the nation and the family. Loyal often writes home, careful not to tell anyone where he really is. He continues to stay disconnected and this is apparent in what he shares with his family.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I have never read anything else by E. Annie Proulx; two of her other books were recommended to me by the friend who passed on Postcards. Postcards follows the Blood Family from their life as hardscrabble farm family to scattered individuals struggling to find out who or what they are. The book opens with Loyal, supportive son and apparent heir to the farm, raping and murdering his girlfriend. He hides her body and runs from home, family, and farm. Without Loyal's help Mink and his disabled son Dub cannot keep up with the work of the farm. Jewell and her daughter Mernelle have as much work as they can handle without taking on "barn chores". While Loyal wanders the country, working hard all the while, the family separates and the farm declines. Mink and Dub are caught in an insurance scam; Mink loses all but Dub goes from Vermont to Florida and discovers a whole new way of life. Jewell and Mernelle make better choices (though whether Mernelle is moving her dependency from her father to another man is debatable and debatedly better). Loyal moves across the country sending postcards back to his family. He goes from despair and self-loathing to apathy and then to a sort of acceptance of himself where he can see the good. He helps people, he survives, and he makes friends. In the end, the family members have come to be characters in themselves, individually important and complex in a way that they never could be as part of the Blood Family. Well, except for Mink, the family as a whole was who he was and he couldn't survive the breakup. Isn't that sadder than struggling and surviving?
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I don't even know why I am writing this....ambivalent: After reading this novel, I still have no idea how I feel about it. I know that I wanted to like it, having adored "The Shipping News" and liking "That Old Ace in the Hole" rather well. But the only thing I feel about this book is ambivalence. Not good, not bad...just nothing.

The plot itself is anything but riveting. It follows random characters through their different American journeys, all ending in tragedy, death, debt, or just plain boredom. I see what Proulx is trying to say here about the American experience, but it seems to me it's been done better by others, Richard Russo being the first to come to mind.

One annoying habit (actually two annoying habits) Proulx has is one: not identifying the speaker. After two pages of "he" and "she" the reader may finally realize who the story is about. Other times, the chapter may end without any name, and utter confusion. Two: Every ten chapters or thereabouts Proulx has a "What I See" chapter, which is exactly what it sounds like. Things the characters see. This is a chance for Proulx to show off her marvelous description skills, but it can also be tedious. Especially when most of the rest of the book is description.

If you are looking to get to know Annie Proulx, this is not the book to start off on. Read "The Shipping News" or "That Old Ace in the Hole" first; both leave definite impressions and have better developed stories and characters. This book is...well, it's just THERE.

Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is really quite a fine work. I am wholly impressed by the world Proulx reveals. Existential without the weepy woe-is-me flavour that pervades the genre. A classic at the outset, this novel spans five decades of failed pursuit of the American Dream. A considerable achievement for any author, this is a brilliant work as a debut. Nicely done in every regard.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Annie Proulx's first novel tells the tragic story of Loyal Blood who in 1944 commits an unspeakable (and unexplained) crime & must flee his home on a farm in New England and search for a new life someplace else. His journey takes him from Vermont to New York, through the Midwest and finally to New Mexico. All during his journeys he continues to send postcards home to his family, but never communicates with them, nor knows about their own troubles and travails.This book may be difficult for some to red since so much is inferred rather than explained, but for those who stick with it, will be rewarded with a remarkable story beautifully written.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Load more
scribd