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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
ISBN: 9781416588917
List price: $13.99
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What can I say? I love (E.) Annie Proulx. I found this beautiful. It is similar to The Fishing News in that not a great deal really *happens* -- no big, story-telling plot-type things anyway -- but life goes on and is both intricate and day-to-day, beautiful and boring, significant on some scale and insignificant on the scale of all things. There are no come-uppances as such, there are no punishments meted out from on high upon those who "do wrong". It's just like life, basically, but beautifully described and observed, with honesty, humour and sympathy. People who don't like Annie Proulx seem to me to usually not like "sad stuff" -- there's a lot of that, but also a fair amount of chuckles (just like in real life.) They don't like it when there isn't a clear "moral" to the story (just like in real life.) And they don't like a lack of an obvious "beginning, middle and end" plot structure. (Need I say it? Just like life.) I prefer writing that reflects real life, not writing that idealises it or moralises over it. I don't like writing where the author places his or herself in a position of presiding judge or wrathful deity, casting some individuals down for their wrongdoings and rewarding others for meeting some contrived concept of "rightness". I like real people who are neither good nor evil, but who just live. Annie Proulx provides me with that, in bucket-loads.more
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.more
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.more
While I enjoyed reading this book I found the author's writing distracting at the time. Over the years on thinking about it, it has grown on me and I still mull over the complex characters and the incidents within the book. A book that you still recall and think about many years later surely deserves recommendation.more
Read all 14 reviews

Reviews

What can I say? I love (E.) Annie Proulx. I found this beautiful. It is similar to The Fishing News in that not a great deal really *happens* -- no big, story-telling plot-type things anyway -- but life goes on and is both intricate and day-to-day, beautiful and boring, significant on some scale and insignificant on the scale of all things. There are no come-uppances as such, there are no punishments meted out from on high upon those who "do wrong". It's just like life, basically, but beautifully described and observed, with honesty, humour and sympathy. People who don't like Annie Proulx seem to me to usually not like "sad stuff" -- there's a lot of that, but also a fair amount of chuckles (just like in real life.) They don't like it when there isn't a clear "moral" to the story (just like in real life.) And they don't like a lack of an obvious "beginning, middle and end" plot structure. (Need I say it? Just like life.) I prefer writing that reflects real life, not writing that idealises it or moralises over it. I don't like writing where the author places his or herself in a position of presiding judge or wrathful deity, casting some individuals down for their wrongdoings and rewarding others for meeting some contrived concept of "rightness". I like real people who are neither good nor evil, but who just live. Annie Proulx provides me with that, in bucket-loads.more
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.more
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.more
While I enjoyed reading this book I found the author's writing distracting at the time. Over the years on thinking about it, it has grown on me and I still mull over the complex characters and the incidents within the book. A book that you still recall and think about many years later surely deserves recommendation.more
Postcards is a story on many levels. On the surface it's the story of a Vermont farmer's son, Loyal Blood, whose girlfriend dies in the act of being raped by him. To avoid having to explain any of this, he runs away, telling his family that the girl, Billy is going with him, and spends the next 40 years as an itinerant worker, sending home postcards from time to time. On another level, it's the story of "progress" and the social changes that took place between 1944 and 1984 in the American way of life, electricity, transport, conservation etc. I found it also the story of that part of each person who has something in their soul that they don't want anyone else to find out about. The story of the mistake, the wrong choice, and the effort taken to cover that up, often all throughout our lives, when all things would be easier (so it seems from an outside point of view) to be honest and seek forgiveness right from the start.more
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