The fantastic new collection of stories from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'The Shipping News' and 'Brokeback Mountain'. 'Fine Just The Way It Is' marks Annie Proulx's return to the Wyoming of 'Brokeback Mountain' and the familiar cast of hardy, unsentimental prairie folk. The stories are cast over centuries, and capture the voices and ...
The fantastic new collection of stories from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'The Shipping News' and 'Brokeback Mountain'. 'Fine Just The Way It Is' marks Annie Proulx's return to the Wyoming of 'Brokeback Mountain' and the familiar cast of hardy, unsentimental prairie folk. The stories are cast over centuries, and capture the voices and lives of the settlers this sagebrushed and weatherworn country has known, from the native Indian tribes to the modern day ranch owners and politicians, and their cowboy forebears. In 'A Family Man', an old man nearing the end of his life unburdens himself of the weighty family secrets that were his father's unwelcome legacy. 'Them Old Cowboy Songs' follows Archie and Rosie, a young pioneer couple, and their hardships in their attempt to homestead in the exposed wintry expanses of the prairie, and 'Testimony of the Donkey' finds a young international couple, Marc and Caitlin, struggling with much more modern concerns, and confronting uncertainty as their relationship comes to its end. These are stories of desperation and hard times, often marked by an inescapable sadness, 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. These are bold, elegant and memorable pieces, and once more confirm Annie Proulx as one of the most talented, unique short story writers in the language.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-05-26 The steely Proulx (The Shipping News, etc.) returns with another astonishing series of hardscrabble lives lived in the sparse, inhospitable West, where one mistake can put you on a long-winding trail to disaster. "Family Man" is set in the Mellowhorn Home for old cowboys and aging ranch widows, where resident curmudgeon Ray Forkenbrock shares memories of his father with his granddaughter and an eavesdropping caretaker; the secret he reveals gives new meaning to the word "relative." In two demonically clever riffs on human weakness, "I've Always Loved This Place" and "Swamp Mischief," the Devil, accompanied by his secretary, Duane Fork, must entertain himself thinking up new ways to bother the living and the dead, as temptation is no longer a necessary evil. Saving the best for last, "Tits-up in a Ditch" breaks new literary ground with the gut-wrenching tale of an Iraq veteran who returns to her family raw with grief. Pioneer homesteaders facing drought and debt give way to modern-day hippies trying to lose themselves in the vanishing wilderness and real estate developers out to make a buck--unforgettable characters in nine stories that range in tone from crude cowboy humor to heartbreaking American tragedy. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2008-10-27 Will Patten is a fine actor who fits voice and pace to the tone of each story in this collection. He is often a quiet, dreamy narrator, but when stories slowly navigate toward a terrible, heart-in-mouth tension-as Proulx's so often do-he assumes a breathiness that significantly heightens the drama. As tale-teller, Patten has a slight Western accent; this sounds right, but also enables him to use a range of dialects as appropriate for each character. In a more straightforward manner, he narrates Proulx's amusing (though less successful) tales of the Devil redesigning Hell. Proulx, best known for Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, turns out prose as exquisite as ever in her wrenching tales of Wyoming, past and present. A Scribner hardcover (Reviews, May 26). (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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