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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime - this stayed with me for a long time after I turned...
...the last page. Miss Proulx's descriptions of buying in a barely hospitable area are in turn funny and ripe with her frustration. Owing to the richness of her writing you feel her pain and you giggle along with the ineptitude of those she hires. But then she herself freely admits she was mad to buy in this isolated, harsh spot. It's a majestic environment though - one...
Published 5 months ago by S Winspur

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fragmented
I love Proulx's writing. Her sparse sentences are beautifully constructed, almost poetic, and she has such an affinity with the land she writes about you really feel at times as if you are there with her. This book is rather different from her novels and short stories however. It is a kind of memoir in which she talks about and tries to examine why a sense of place is so...
Published on 2 Oct 2011 by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fragmented, 2 Oct 2011
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird Cloud (Hardcover)
I love Proulx's writing. Her sparse sentences are beautifully constructed, almost poetic, and she has such an affinity with the land she writes about you really feel at times as if you are there with her. This book is rather different from her novels and short stories however. It is a kind of memoir in which she talks about and tries to examine why a sense of place is so important to her. The book is split into three roughly equal sections. In the first she talks about her family tree and about searching for the part of herself that both longs for the perfect home and yet is still driven to wander. In the second section she talks about her attempts to build what she thought would be her perfect home in over six hundred acres of Wyoming landscape that she bought. This house is called Bird Cloud, hence the title of the book. The third section deals with her life at Bird Cloud and the life and history of the land that it is on.

All three sections are connected, but only loosely, and this really gives the book a sense of fragmentation that for me did not make it an easy read. It seems unfinished and rather fragmentary and also, at times, as if she herself is just not satisfied with what she is writing. The phrase that sums it up best for me is cobbled together.

The section on Bird Cloud itself was the most interesting. Proulx had endless difficulties with the house and it is compelling reading, but Bird Cloud is such an unusual house I really felt that at least one photograph or drawing of the house would not have gone amiss here. I really struggled to picture the house in my mind's eye and I got so attached to the outcome as I read that I felt somehow cheated that I didn't get to see the finished structure.

So, if you are starting off with Bird Cloud as an example of Proulx's writing I think you will be disappointed. Try Accordion Crimes or The Shipping News first and then move on to this. It is interesting but it feels unfinished and unsatisfactory.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars IT PAINS ME, 21 April 2012
By 
Alexander Bryce (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird Cloud (Hardcover)
I am a big fan of Annie Proulx. It therefor pains me to give less than five stars to anything by her. Her works of fiction are beyond reproach, but this, the nearest yet to an autobiography, I found to be rather dull and, I can't believe I am saying this about any Annie Proulx book, boring. Sure it tells us much about life in nineteenth century USA and Canada, about Annie Proulx's life now and in her early years, about why she chose to build her home under that bird shaped cloud in her beloved Wyoming and why she left this special place. All this should have made for an interesting read , but for me it was too pedestrian with rather a lot of unnecessary detail about the construction, fitting and decor.
I think I would have put it down before the end were it not for my great, genuine admiration of Annie Proulx.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime - this stayed with me for a long time after I turned..., 25 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Bird Cloud (Hardcover)
...the last page. Miss Proulx's descriptions of buying in a barely hospitable area are in turn funny and ripe with her frustration. Owing to the richness of her writing you feel her pain and you giggle along with the ineptitude of those she hires. But then she herself freely admits she was mad to buy in this isolated, harsh spot. It's a majestic environment though - one which Miss Proulx does justice in her beautiful observations of the wildlife around her. I learnt so so much about American history, 'land grabbing' and how a 'real' writer likes to work (and sets up her home accordingly). It's beautiful and wonderful - a real joy to read.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 20 April 2011
This review is from: Bird Cloud (Hardcover)
Although Annie writes beautiful descriptions of wildlife, the country and the housebuilding progress it lacks structure hopping from one train of thought to another and has so much jargon in there it becomes diffcult to read. You long for photos or illustrations e.g. of the James Gang and the house and ranch because you just dont get the connection from her prose or the occasional line drawings. Irritating also that she complains about the costs but never tells you what it is or other details. Its as though she's trying to keep you at a distance. Perhaps she wrote the book reluctantly to pay for it all.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Just Don't, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place (Paperback)
Please don't buy this if you are an Annie Proulx fan (as I am) you will be very disappointed. It smacks of contractual obligation writing and has regrettably ended in the recycling bin. (I wouldn't want to spoil any newcomer's first experience of Proulx with this effort so no charity shop).
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living in the Wild Country, 13 Mar 2011
By 
D. J. "DeeJay" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird Cloud (Hardcover)
Another great book from Annie Proulx, not a book of fiction this time but a memoir dedicated to a wild area of Wyoming by the North Platte River and her decision to build a house and live there. Annie was looking for a "place" to settle down and live out the rest of her life, unfortunatley this was not to be, the area proved to be to wild and inaccesable during the Winter months. Annie explains how she came across this particular spot "Bird Cloud" and how she wanted her house built and to become more at one with her wild surroundings.
Annie explains the history of the area, the Native Americans who used to live there, the abundant wildlife, the people she enlisted to help build her dream home and the never ending pitfalls that acompany such a project.
Annie Proulx like great writers have, draws you into the essence of her writing with her honesty,
compassion, detail and energy that has made her one of the best writers of Modern American Literature.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Banal, 29 Feb 2012
This review is from: Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place (Paperback)
A boring and banal tale of one ladies chioce of kitchen tiles etc. No insights into the writers mind, no inspiration taken from the surroundings. I was very disapointed after having read some of her excellent fiction. Give it a miss and read Accordian Crimes instead.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 5 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Bird Cloud (Kindle Edition)
wide-ranging, meditative, informative, evocative and beautifully written.
Amazon requires '13 more words' which is the reason why I rarely complete these feedback requests.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wild West, 27 April 2011
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This review is from: Bird Cloud (Hardcover)
Heard this book in precis form on Radio 4, bought it from Amazon and read it with pleasure, a lovely book that educates one about the USA and Canada in the early days, also how climate change is affecting the lodge pines in the National Parks of America which is odd considering how anti the USA has been.

A lovely book which assures one that good solid and honest craftsmen and nature lovers still exist beyond all the "Celebrity" hype in America and reinforces ones admiration for the author of The Shipping News, Brokeback Mountain and now Bird Cloud.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yes indeed, boring bother with builders, 16 Mar 2012
By 
S. L. Cooke (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place (Paperback)
Very disappointed with this book. Next to listening to other peoples' dreams I should think hearing about other people's bother with builders is the most tedious thing in the world. Annie Proulx's troubles with her new house are of no interest to anyone else but her I should imagine. And these accounts are oddly interspersed with tales of riverboat captains and native tribes, which sounds as though they should be interesting but aren't. Even the birdwatching episodes were dull. Give this one a miss.
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Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place
Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place by Annie Proulx (Paperback - 1 Mar 2012)
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