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Postcards
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About the Author

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.

Reviews

In this poignant first novel by Proulx ( Heart Songs and Other Stories ), artfully misspelled postcards form the tenuous links between ill-fated young trapper Loyal Blood and his family--Mink and Jewelle, Dub and Mernelle--who eke a meager existence from their ancestral Vermont farm. When Loyal accidentally kills his saucy redheaded sweetheart Billy while making love in the fields, he hides her body in a stone-covered fox den. Abruptly he tells his family that he and Billy are heading west to ``make a new start.'' In a vengeful rage his father Mink shoots Loyal's cows. Loyal endures harsh years of self-imposed exile as, from 1944 to the '80s, he roves from job to job--mining, fossil picking, trapping--each authoritatively detailed. Racked with gagging seizures whenever he tries to touch another woman, sick in his lungs, Loyal doggedly accepts his lot without complaint. Back home the violent, feckless Bloods fall into ruin, attempting arson, serving jail terms and losing the farm, which is sold for trailer parks. Flurries of postcards fly, both personal and commercial: brother Dub answers one for an artificial limb, desperate sister Mernelle responds to a lonely lumberman's ad for a wife. Proulx writes a rich, sensuous prose; she captures the earthy, hard-bitten voices of men and women resigned to travail and documents the passing of an epoch. If there is a fault, it is the overabundance of minor characters randomly introduced into the narrative. (Jan.)

'The richness of America is portrayed with memorable effect in this remarkable first novel -- Faulkner springs to mind. Postcards is written from the heart and -- for its raspy dialogue, laconic humour and beautiful description of the natural world -- deserves to be widely read.' Independent on Sunday 'A sweeping and dramatic tale. Not since Steinbeck has the migrant worker's life been so evocatively rendered.' Daily Telegraph 'A remarkable novel; poetic and yet driven by a strong narrative, tragic and yet scored with deep veins of humour. Loyal Blood is one of those rare, haunted characters who continue to live in the mind after you finish the book.' Literary Review

At the outset of this novel spanning four decades, Loyal Blood accidentally kills his girlfriend. The story alternately follows the fortunes of Loyal who, fearing punishment, sets out across America, and the family he leaves behind on their hardscrabble Vermont farm. As Loyal drifts from misfortune to misfortune, variously trying his hand at machining, mining, prospecting for uranium, digging for dinosaur bones, trapping, and farming, he is incapable of forming permanent attachments to people or places. With an uncanny ear for dialog, Proulx takes the Blood family through the changes that pass for progress during the next 40 years. Tersely worded postcards punctuate the heartbreaking stories that form this moving first novel.-- Barbara Love, St. Lawrence Coll., Kingston, Ontario

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