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Close Range: Wyoming Stories [Paperback]

Annie Proulx
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 10 2000
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author of The Shipping News and Accordion Crimes comes one of the most celebrated short-story collections of our time.
Annie Proulx's masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in these breathtaking tales of loneliness, quick violence, and the wrong kinds of love. Each of the stunning portraits in Close Range reveals characters fiercely wrought with precision and grace.
These are stories of desperation and unlikely elation, set in a landscape both stark and magnificent -- by an author writing at the peak of her craft.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Pulitzer Prize-winner E. Annie Proulx forays through the underside of America's beloved Wild West in Close Range, a collection of stories about hardship and more hardship in Wyoming territory. Understanding that the West's infinite spaces tended to inspire neither introspection nor contemplation, but a violent and insatiable restlessness, Proulx's eight stories are dark reflections on the lives of a handful of characters striving to define themselves against the unforgiving landscapes. The three professional actors chosen to read the text give strong, resounding interpretations of the macabre tales. (Running time: 6 hours, 4 cassettes) --Natasha Senjanovich --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This marvelous collection proves that Proulx's Pulitzer Prize for The Shipping News was no one-shot deal. Set in Wyoming, the 11 stories "feature down-on-their-luck ranchers, cowboys, and working men who watch helplessly as the modern world leaves them behind." (LJ 5/1/99)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wyoming as a state of the soul Feb. 2 2004
Format:Paperback
I am a grown-up, middle aged man not drawn much to sentimentality. I am not a practiced reader of fiction and I have spent only one night in Wyoming. I just finished reading the final story in the collection, "Brokeback Mountain",about ten minutes ago.
I still have tears in my eyes. It seems to me that I am still falling out of a dream into the wet and chill February morning by San Francisco Bay where I now live. But the dream was of a place utterly familiar. I mean, emotionally familiar, familiar in memory, and evidently, familiar to my body. I can still feel the tingling just behind my cheekbones and the low-voltage electric discomfort in my chest. I guess Annie Proulx touched something in the geography of my own soul with her story. And even in the sadness that swirls around my eyes, I am grateful to her for that. And amazed that this woman could write so tellingly of men's hearts.
I said that I am a middle-aged man. So I have a history behind me. That's part of what makes you middle-aged. When you're young, who you want to be someday is the largest part of who you are. When you're middle-aged, the evidence begins to mount. The past is what it was and that is the largest part of who you are. It's harder to make believe anymore. And the story includes loss, confusion, missed opportunities, cowardice, fear, and memories of your own Brokeback Mountain. And sometimes the only redemption for the past, if it is redemption, is to remember it, fully. That's all.
Now that I am back in the waking world a bit more, I also want to say that Annie Proulx weaves the English language beautifully, with the kind of strength, color and contrapuntal roughness that makes it so earthy and satisfying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Enjoyed It, But Not For Everyone Sept. 12 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Well, it amuses me to see all of these reviews by people from the East Coast and Midwest and California telling us here in Wyoming how much this "is" Wyoming or "isn't" Wyoming. It's an entertaining book, it flirts with, and occasionally hits the truth right on the nail head, and it's not the entire picture of Wyoming either. The stories all contain elements of Wyoming, both what it was, and what it still is, but they tend to run towards the dark side, the brutal side, the barren side, both of Wyoming's climate and geography, and of its people. I'm not one of Wyoming's few city dwellers - I live and work with cattle and wildlife every day, I'm out there on the -30 degree days, I see some ugly things and some incredibly beautiful things, and I think that's what resonated with me about this book. I saw my friends and neighbors and enemies in this book, and that's what kept me turning pages. I wish I'd seen a little more of the splendor, the hope, the grace, and the wonder of Wyoming, but what the heck, I didn't write it. Quite a good bit of Wyoming marches to its own drummer, and you can drive miles and miles on most of our roads without seeing other folks, and we like things that way. Enjoy the book or don't, but don't gripe about the kernels of truth in it or your perceived notions about how it's wrong or right about Wyoming from your highrise condo in some eastern city. It's close enough for us born and raised here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars yup. May 11 2002
Format:Hardcover
Annie Proulx's voice lands somewhere between the savagely humorous stories of Flannery O'Connor and the sparse and romantic beauty of Raymond Carver -- which, I suppose, is geographically appropriate.
I am a resident of Wyoming. I am not from here and I do not plan to stay here. I have little love for the barren landscape or the tough people of this land -- I would rather be in a cafe in San Francisco or a coffee shop in Greenwich Village. But I have seen enough of this place to validate the authenticity of Proulx's vision of this land, to a point anyway. Like anyplace, there are more people who watch too much TV and eat too many Oreos than there are who lead these lives of clenched teeth and fists.
For being about Wyoming, which they fully are, these stories cover a lot of ground. From the Blood Bay, a wonderfully humorous rewrite of a familiar ranch legend, to a story about a bullrider to anti-beef radical activists to a tractor who makes love to an overweight and lonely girl to the crowning story about two tough cowboys and their unusual love for each other, Annie Proulx's imagination almost makes up for the lack of imagination of everyone else in this state.
I will buy this book as a memoir of my year in this barren state. I will recommend this book as an excellent collection of stories from a remarkable writer about a tough land.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Family ties and ranching make it very Close June 21 2004
Format:Paperback
After reading a couple of stories of Annie Proulx's collection "Close Range: Wyoming Stories" I started feeling the line that kept the narrative together was the familiar feeling. But near the end, when I reached a tale called "The Governors of Wyoming", I realized that they are also about ranching.
At a point in this very same story, a character states that "the main thing about ranching (...), last as long as you can, make things come out so's it's still your ranch when it is time to get buried. That's my take on it". This statement is clear what keeps all the stories together in this collection. In a way, or another, the main characters --and the main plot of narrative-- are dealing with forces --be them another person, destiny etc-- that are trying to steal their ranch.
However, the family ties are another acting force --that may help to keep the ranch or lose it. There are always conflicts between siblings, husband and wives, mothers and sons. And another major theme is the intolerance that is all around us most of the time.
This theme is the main object in the last --and probably the best --story, called "Brokeback Mountain" that narrates the relationship between to male cowboys that fall in love with each other. Due to their inhospitable environment their affair is fated to surrender. But if this is not a surprise, the dignity and beauty with Proulx deals with the characters that is an amazing thing.
The stories have different objectives and paces. Take "Job History" for instance. It is so fast that sometimes looks like a newsreel. And so it could be, because it is the story of members of a family that are so busy with their own lives that they end up missing the history that is happening in their times.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A little too bleak for my taste ...
I'm not quite sure what to make of this collection. I loved AP's writing style and wanted to be drawn into the stories. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2004 by Angela Linton
5.0 out of 5 stars A Subtle and Unrelenting Comedy
After carefully anylising Proulx character development and precise diction it seems to me that the whether the characters depicted by Proulx capture the spirit of Wyoming is... Read more
Published on Sept. 23 2003 by Becky Raney
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic at work here in the truth and lies of "the West".
Brothers Grimm dealt in folklore, myth and truth using language that confronted, that did not hide, say, an act of cannibalism, and revealed in their stories some of our fears,... Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2003 by Ian Muldoon
1.0 out of 5 stars not even close, no emotional range
It is hard to imagine these stories being printed if the author hadn't won a Pulitzer Prize for earlier work. Read more
Published on May 29 2003 by Cinnamon Girl
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK for My Tastes
The first thing I'm going to say is that I only read half this book. If you wish, you can take that as a commentary on the book, or a commentary on the reviewer. Read more
Published on May 12 2003 by Norm Zurawski
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry Wyoming, we know better.
This sordid, dark, ugly filth is not the Wyoming my grandparents hailed from. I have known many persons from ranches in that state and they are hard working, forthright and... Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2002 by Kyddyl
5.0 out of 5 stars No contrast except in the imagery
Ever since she allowed a happy ending to ruin things in The Shipping News, Annie Proulx has made life miserable for every character she's drawn. Read more
Published on March 9 2002 by Philip Levy
5.0 out of 5 stars A great collect wish they had more than 5 stars
I write and publish short stories and I teach writing.
This is one of the best collections of short stories I have ever read. Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2002 by Tony Thomas
3.0 out of 5 stars Wyoming Stories: a very uneven collection
"Close Range: Wyoming Stories" is the newest collection of short stories by Annie Proulx. With various stories written in various periods of time, Snip: (...).
Published on Feb. 7 2002
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