Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx

By D'Souza, Irene | Herizons, Summer 2000 | Go to article overview

Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx


D'Souza, Irene, Herizons


CLOSE RANGE: WYOMING STORIES BY ANNIE PROULX

SCRIBNER, 1999

Annie Proulx first gained worldwide attention with the Pulitzer-Prize winning, The Shipping News, where readers unearthed beauty in the desolate landscape of Newfoundland. Gone is that claustrophobic society; in her latest, Close Range she changes focus: Welcome to the wide-open spaces of God's country--Wyoming. The landscape that dots this collection of eleven stories is unforgiving. The author deftly uses the influence of the elements taking its toll on the characters' psyche. Although their needs, wants and desires are universal, the unyielding and harsh environment forms their character. William Matthews' watercolours interspersed throughout these exquisite, gut wrenching, dynamic memorable stories, provide stunning visual images that dominate the story.

The hopes, insecurities, ambitions, fear, isolation, desperation and loves are subtly evoked. The natural landscape creates discord and can shift the delicate balance between life and death.

Proulx's stories are passionate and eloquent, the sentences sublime. She pays close attention to emotional nuance and visual detail, resulting in beautifully constructed stories. Throughout the collection there are surprises and twists, there are no predictable moments--the terrain is as wide-open as Wyoming. Here lie stories that defy any genre. The most memorable haunting love story is the last, `Brokeback Mountain.' Two cowboys, Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar, not quite 20, raised on small, poor ranches, meet one fateful spring while tending sheep. …

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