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Reproduced as graphics that preface narrative sections, the postcards in this novel -- communications between the Blood family and their son Loyal, as well as other personal mail and advertising material -- progressively reveal the insecurity of the rural Bloods in the changing post-war world. Loyal has fled into exile after an accidental killing, but cannot find a haven of rest. The family patriarch, Mink, writes vitriolic letters to local agricultural agents when the real object of his ire is his absent son. Loyal's brother sends off for an artificial arm to replace the one he lost in an accident; his sister answers a mail order ad for a husband. Through the mail, Proulx inventively reveals the inchoate longings of a difficult existence in this winner of the 1993 PEN/Faulkner Award. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I loved The Shipping News, & so looked forward to another book by Ms. Proulx. She's a wonderful writer, but her characters in this book led such miserable lives. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2013 by Francine
this book just didn't do it for me. I haven't read Shipping News yet, and wasn't going to after reading this book. Read morePublished on June 22 2004 by Tonya Speelman
Annie Proulx' vivid prose took my breath away. She has an amazing ability with words--metaphors, similes--every sentence an artist's delight. Read morePublished on Dec 6 2002 by B. D'Angelo
Proulx is like Faulkner for me... I know they are both brilliant writers, but I don't really get them. Read morePublished on April 22 2002 by Catherine
Rarely do I put a book down without finishing it, but this was one. Proulx's The Shipping News is one of my all-time favorite books, thanks to her remarkable gift for vocabulary... Read morePublished on March 12 2002
I highly recommend this novel as an engaging read. This ranks just below "Shipping News" among the E. Annie Proulx novels I have read. Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2001 by Arthur Gershman
Introduced to Annie Proulx from her book _Shipping News_, I eagerly snatched this book up with the same expectations and I was delivered of that and more. Read morePublished on May 15 2001 by jmh