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Close Range: Wyoming Stories: v. 1 (Wyoming Stories 1) [Paperback]

Annie Proulx
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2009 Wyoming Stories 1

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘The Shipping News’ comes a collection of short stories inspired by the harsh and unforgiving landscape of Wyoming.

Throughout the collection, Annie Proulx invests these stories with an intelligence and black humour that transforms them into something new and surprising. In one story, a slight young man defies his mother’s insults to become a rodeo star, while in another, an octogenarian finds himself drawn back to the ranch that he quit decades before – against his better judgement. Elsewhere, Proulx demonstrates her taste for the macabre in a grisly tale of bad weather, gambling and amputation set a hundred years ago.

Inventive, compassionate and wildly funny, these marvellous stories explore the unbreakable bond between a people and their land.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New edition edition (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841150762
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841150765
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Annie Proulx's The Shipping News won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the National Book Award for Fiction, and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize. She is the author of two other novels: Postcards, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, and Accordion Crimes. She has also written two collections of short stories, Heart Songs and Other Stories and Close Range. In 2001, The Shipping News was made into a major motion picture. Annie Proulx lives in Wyoming and Newfoundland.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Annie Proulx published her first novel, Postcards in 1991; her second, The Shipping News, won the Pulitzer prize in 1993 and in 1997 her third novel, Accordion Crimes, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Close Range: Wyoming Stories is her second collection of short stories, including the acclaimed novella, "Brokeback Moutain". Described by one critic as a "profanely poetic and beautiful elegy on doomed manhood," this story of love and sex--"a shared and sexless hunger"--between two cowboys exemplifies the world of Close Range. "If you can't fix it you've got to stand it": that could be the motto of any one of these eleven tales of lives lived out in the relentless, sometimes sickening, brutality of ranch and range. From "The Half-Skinned Steer" (take the title literally) to "55 Miles to the Gas Pump" and "People in Hell Just Want a Drink of Water", bodies (often male) are broken and mangled; a nervous woman throws her baby daughter away and a prodigal son rots with gangrene; women are confused with bulls, lovemaking with riding a rodeo. Grotesque, damaged: lost bodies, and dreams, are the themes of this relentless and skilfully crafted book. Far from revelling in the violence, and loss, they uncover, these stories think it through--take the reader towards the poetry and compassion which is the hallmark of Proulx's writing. --Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


‘A stunning collection of eleven tales about the hard lives of the ranchers, cowpokes and country wives who struggle to survive in an unforgiving environment. Written in a wonderfully flexible style that can be both spare and extravagant, her book has been hailed by American critics as a masterpiece.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Like a mystic seeing the transfigured universe, she recreates the beauty of ordinary things.’ Independent on Sunday

‘The detail is meticulous, the prose poetic and Proulx's fiction teems with life. Above all, her stories engage the heart. Magical.’ Tatler

‘Proulx's style, compressed, elastic, hard-hitting, is inimitable: close to poetry but never self-indulgent. This is writing to be savoured.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘These are tales we can almost feel in our bones.’ Sunday Times

‘Individually, these 11 tales have a tautness and an urgency that are never less than exhilarating. Collectively, they encapsulate an entire, unremittingly bleak world. To find the pulse of humanity in such desperate lives betokens a writer of genius.’ Saturday Telegraph

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Bought this book as a holiday read on the back of The Shipping News, consumed(and loved)some years ago. Could barely wait to unpack before starting it on arrival, and had to force myself to stop after half a day for fear of knocking it off in one sitting and leaving me bereft for the remainder of the week. Eagerly picked it up one day self control. One of those books you (I) can't put down; so evocative of unforgiving existences in the unforgiving territory of Wyoming past and present.I kept wondering how the author could have put so much expression and understanding into the varied lives of her protagonists, particularly when, in perhaps the best and most powerful of all the stories she relates the loving relationship between two cowboys. I suggest reading a story a day or you'll o.d. on the characters and the landscape - but, if you've read Proulx before, you don't need all this guff to convince you it's a buy.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close Range 8 Feb 2005
By "groan"
This is a collection of short stories set in a harsh, unforgiving landscape. The reader is immediately drawn into the plots in which three dimensional characters eke out their existence beneath the mind - numbing effect of huge distances & isolation, where minor occurrances take on huge proportions.
Proulx's stories are utterly spellbinding. Her prose is hypnotic & her imagery breathtaking.
This is a book which affects your life whilst it holds you in its thrall. I have lost count of how many times I have re-read it but each time it is as fresh as the first. If you only ever read one more book, make it this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Close Range: Wyoming Stories is a rich collection of evocative, inspiring, challenging and uncompromising short stories. Proulx captures the culture and landscape of Wyoming - a place I have never been - through astounding descriptive techniques and breathtaking characterisation. Humour and pathos are equal ingredients in her studies of the human spirit, notably as it operates at the fringe of modern American civilisation. The last story in the collection - Brokeback Mountain - will stay in your heart and imagination for ever.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harsh life, Good read 26 Oct 1999
The characters that populate this collection of short stories will be familiar to readers of Proulxs' previous work. The harsh conditions and lifestyle of Wyoming farmers is depicted with a sense of quirkiness and romantic realism. Proulx speaks of workers accustomed to discomfort who gain their enjoyment through the work they do, and via drink and cigarettes. The story telling somehow enlivens what on the face of it is a hostile world: to use Proulxs' own words, this is an environment of "nothing much but weather and distance". Each story is a real joy to read, often launching straight into its plot so that one is swept along. Proulxs' tendency to overwrite that is most evident in her earlier work seems to have been brought back under control and this means the writing is allowed to flow more easily. Proulx has managed to bring a new perspective into what are essentially lives of physical and natural extremes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American prose at its absolute best 22 Jun 2010
The writing crackles and burns indelible images. Phrases live with you. "She was ridden hard and put away dirty" refers to a mother of four who leaves home one day - can't take it any more. Proulx encapsulates that in just eight words.

Read this book for the quality of the writing and the images it summons up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unforgiving trek past Brokeback Mountain 23 Oct 2009
Again I am putting the cart in front of the horses in terms of my reading habits; I was drawn to this book after viewing the amazing Brokeback Mountain. As well as a half remembered recommendation from my old mate Mike Pinkney. He said it was an unforgiving read. He wasn't wrong.

It is the first time I have read a short story collection from cover to cover in quite a while. Usually I see them as a quick-lit fix, as a pleasant sideshow to the current novel on the bedside table. Although the stories here vary wildly in their pace, content and construction they hang together on similar themes.

The most obvious tie is the harsh backdrop of Wyoming that encases each tale. Proulx is, like she shows in The Shipping News, an author who can really write a landscape. And boy does this sound like a bleak and tough state to live in. No wonder the characters share such melancholy demeanours.

Throughout the eleven stories we meet disillusioned rodeo riders, self-loathing cowboys and dysfunctional families searching in desperation to find any threads to hang their lives together. In short, there is not a great deal of laughter to be found here - any lighter moments are found in humour of the darkest shade (The Blood Bay being a case in point).

Some elements are shocking and disturbing, some magical and otherworldly, but each is hardy enough to match its setting. Each reflects the sheer isolation of life in the state, and what that solitude can drive man to do.

And yet, against these hopeless odds the main characters here all seem to be seeking acceptance of some kind. Belonging. The gay cowboy, the overweight farmer's daughter, the failed rodeo star. It rarely comes, but in the sweet, fleeting moments when it feels so close Proulx's prose is pure magic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Dangerous and indifferent ground: against its fixed mass the...
Eleven stories set in the harsh cowboy world of Wyoming: failing ranches, their owners going down with them, hard drinking, sleeping around. Read more
Published 8 months ago by sally tarbox
4.0 out of 5 stars Annie Proulx fan
As an Annie Proulx fan I enjoyed this book, though I have to say slightly less than some of her others. Read more
Published 16 months ago by P. Cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous service!
I ordered it for my daughter who dropped another subject to do English two weeks into the academic year. I asked the seller to send it asap, and that was exactly what they did. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Kobe
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding writing
Proulx has complete mastery of "voice". She is able to present character not only through action but through diction and accent in each of her individually created Westerners -... Read more
Published 24 months ago by J. Boyle
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that good really
I have not yet read any of Proulx's other work such as The Shipping News. This collection of eleven short stories contains a masterpiece, Brokeback Mountain. Read more
Published on 28 Mar 2008 by Flibertigibbit
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect partners:blood and sludge
Suddenly coming from Sheffield, England isn't that bad at all. In fact it's a ladies night out. Wyoming life is hard. Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2001 by
4.0 out of 5 stars Likeable stories
Well I liked it. Perhaps less mannered style than her longer fiction (which isn't supposed to sound like an insult). Try also Jonathan Raban's Bad Land. Read more
Published on 16 May 2000 by Armchair adventurer
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
Simply stunning. Searing stories from a master stylist.
Published on 8 May 2000
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