Thursday, June 14, 2007

Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx

Another collection by the author of The Shipping News and Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories II (See below). I just noticed, while reshelving this book, that Proulx has dropped the initial “E.” before “Annie.” All her early books have it, but even the reissues of older works show the name change. I would love to know what that is all about.
Anyway, these stories are good, but I noticed something in this early collection that I did not notice in her other works. She has the attention to detail, the vivid descriptions, and the ear for colloquialisms, but here, her narrator also uses the local color language. Somehow, it seems forced and artificial.
This collection contains “Brokeback Mountain,” and I now see what a fine film it was – by that I mean true to the author’s story. It was almost exact. I read the story before seeing the film, and I liked it. Now, reading it after two viewings of the film, I have a deeper appreciation for both. I could not help hearing Heath Ledger and Jake Gylenhaal as I followed their lives up and down Brokeback Mountain. All in all, I would have to say Proulx fans would only be slightly disappointed. Four stars.
--Chiron, 6/6/07

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