Annie Proulx won the Pulitzer Prize with her book "The Shipping News"
E. Annie Proulx is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Shipping News" and the acclaimed 'Accordion Crimes'. She was born in 1935 in Connecticut USA, where her family have lived since 1635, but has spent most of her life in Vermont. She has been a newspaper editor, medical writer, historian and author. Her first book was a collection of short stories, 'Heart Songs and Other Stories'. Her first novel, 'Postcards', was published when she was in her 50s.
Proving that the Pulitzer Prize for The Shipping News (Scribner, 1993) was no fluke, Proulx once again demonstrates her creative mastery of the English language in her second collection of short stories, several of which have already won awards. Set in the big sky country of Wyoming where there's "nothing much but weather and distance," Proulx's stories feature primarily down-on-their-luck ranchers, cowboys, and working men who watch helplessly as the modern world leaves them behind. Most memorable is the bittersweet "Brokeback Mountain," which delicately explores a lifelong attraction and love between two cowboys and its tragic consequences. In "The Mud Below" Proulx aptly describes the physical and mental challenges of the rodeo circuit, where young Diamond Felts is stubbornly determined to risk his future and his family to become a bull rider, finding that it "fulfilled some greedy physical hunger in him that he hadn't known was there." And she follows hapless Leeland Lee from job to job in the poignant "Job History" as he looks for a way to support his family with no real skills or direction. Proulx's idiosyncratic writing style and offbeat characters are not for everyone, but her legions of fans will insure that this collection finds a home in every library. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/99]ÄCharlotte L. Glover, Ketchikan P. L., AK Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
'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 bit never self-indulgent. This is writing to be savoured.' Sunday Telegraph 'These are tales we can almost feel in our bones.' Sunday Times 'As lean, confident and exact as a stylist, and as good a storyteller, as you could hope for. Buy this book.' Observer '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
Annie Proulx's new collection of short stories includes the acclaimed `Brokeback Mountain', along with 10 other stories all set in the harsh and unrelenting landscape of Wyoming. Life here is tough, and `the tragedy of people counts for nothing although the signs of misadventure are everywhere' among the bull-riding, gun-toting, hard-drinking and hard-working folk of the ranchlands. Although similar in flavour, each story is unique - sometimes confronting, sometimes poignant, but never sentimental. There is much that is grim, even gruesome, in this collection but there is a very real sense that this is life. The stories are absolutely engaging - some particularly for their narrative, others for their character interaction or their quirky, sometimes black humour. Some stories are quite bleak, such as `Job History', where life for everyone is a succession of miserable failures. They are all wonderfully written and the work of a master storyteller who leaves the reader with much to dwell upon. The style of Proulx's writing here is closer to that of Accordion Crimes than The Shipping News or her earlier short-story collection, Heart Songs. No doubt readers will find some stories more satisfying than others, but this is a collection to look forward to and certainly one to savour. Anne Austin is a bookseller at Lindfield Bookshop, Lindfield (NSW). C. 1999 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors