This is an incredibly subtle, evocative and moving account of two ranch hands in 1960's America who are thrown together in ordinary circumstances and who very quickly discover they share something that runs so deep that it virtually consumes them, a connection and affection that only intensifies through the years. And this story is made all the more powerful by the succinct prose and almost sparse, but vibrant language.
At only 58, small pages and because the two main characters, Jack and Ennis, and their story is so fascinating - this is a book that you’ll very likely finish in one sitting. Everything works here, but most essentially- the two men at the centre of the story who are more different than they are alike, but who compliment each other perfectly- makes for a very undemanding, but intensely involving and ultimately bittersweet story. And most refreshingly, Proulx never patronises her readers- predictable plot twists and tidy, happy endings don't apply here. It's almost as if she isn't aware she's writing for anyone other than herself, she simply lays out a story to be taken or not and I'm very glad I did.
In some ways, this is a story that the reader must add a lot to themselves, because all love is unspoken here, between people not used to expressing themselves or their feelings openly, even those between husband and wife, so some reading between the lines is required. And ultimately, the story was very powerful for me because it highlighted just how few boundaries life imposes on us, but how very many we impose on ourselves.