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Bird Cloud Hardcover – 3 Feb 2011

3.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition edition (3 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007231989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007231980
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 629,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Annie Proulx

‘Proulx's enchanting description, unparalleled sentence structure, and unwavering insight combine to reveal both the coldest and most resilient recesses of the human heart’ O, the Oprah Magazine

‘Ms. Proulx writes with all the brutal beauty of one of her Wyoming snowstorms’ Wall Street Journal

‘No one writes better about tough people in tough places’ USA Today

‘Annie Proulx is a genuine character-a true original. She has a shrewd understanding of people, a strong feeling for landscape…and a wry sense of humor rather like Mark Twain's’ Los Angeles Times

‘No ones writes about the West with the skeptical verve of Annie Proulx’ Outside

About the Author

Annie Proulx's books include the novel ‘The Shipping News’ and the story collection ‘Fine Just the Way It Is’. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize and a PEN/Faulkner award. She lives in Wyoming.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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By Alexander Bryce TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of Annie Proulx for twenty odd years, drawn to her work because of her feeling for history, landscape and the natural world, and the sense of place she evokes in her fiction. However, while ‘Bird Cloud’, subtitled ‘A Memoir of Place’, seems to promise much, the book is in fact something of a disappointment. It doesn’t help that the blurb on the paperback misrepresents the book. This is not Proulx’s ‘first work of non-fiction for twenty years’ (she published a book on Wyoming’s Red Desert a little before ‘Bird Cloud’); we don’t really ‘learn why she chose to live in the wilderness in a house full of books’; and she says next to nothing about ‘how she became one of America’s finest writers’. In fact, she spends most of the time telling us about acquiring a remote square mile of land in south Wyoming and building a house on it. Proulx had hoped this would be her last home, and she gets an architect in to design the house she wants. But things don’t go as planned, and Proulx ends up presenting the reader with a litany of complaints, about realtors, constructors, concrete floors, noisy appliances and the problem of cataloguing her library – at one point she even grouches about some nearby noisy owls. This reads like so many middle-class tales of the trials and tribulations of employing builders. The book is better when Proulx turns away from the building site to things beyond it: her family history, Wyoming’s remaining wilderness, the history of the area’s Native Americans and its white settlers and ranchers. The high point of the book for me is Proulx’s finely observed account of the birdlife at her new home. Sadly, much of the rest of the book fails to take flight, and I was left wishing she had spent more time writing about things outside her house and less about her domestic woes.
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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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