| Close Range: Wyoming Stories
Watercolors by William Matthews
"The need to know has taken me from coal mines to fire towers, to hillsides studded with agate, to a beached whale skeleton, to the sunny side of an iceberg, to museums of canoes and of windmills, to death masks with eyelashes stuck in the plaster, to shipyards and log yards, old military forts, wildfires and graffiti'd rocks, to rough water and rusty shipwrecks, to petroglyphs and prospectors' diggings, to collapsed cotton gins, down into the caldera of an extinct volcano and, once or thrice in the middle distance, in view of a snouty twister."
— From "Writers on Writings," The New York Times, 5/10/99 — E. Annie Proulx
In "The Mud Below" a rodeo rider's obsession marks the deepening fissures between his family life and self-imposed isolation. The world's violent intolerance ultimately destroys a difficult affair between two cowboys in "Brokeback Mountain". "Blood Bay" offers a Wyoming twist on the Irish folktale 'The Calf That Ate The Traveler' known in stock-raising cultures.
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. The pieces meld seamlessly into each other to create a nuanced portrait of a bleak and windswept world.
Proulx was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for The Shipping News. She has won the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for her work, and has been praised as "a passionate storyteller with the precision of a diamond cutter..." (Boston Sunday Globe).
This new work by Annie Proulx is an occasion for celebration for her wide and growing audience of current enthusiasts, and an excellent starting point for those new to this master teller of tales.
Heart Song and Other Stories
The Shipping News