I just don't enjoy this writer. She is stark, the stories are mostly brutal. I like endings spelled out. Broke Back Mountain was in this collection and it was the best story in the book. I never saw the movie but that story was touching and not sordid at all. It was probably worth it for that one story, and some people might appreciate that style of writing.
This collection of short stories includes "Brokeback Mountain" from which the movie was made. This writing is about as sparse as it gets, resembling, no doubt, the vast plains about which Proulx writes so movingly.
Annie Proulx, who plainly loves Wyoming and truly understands loneliness, offers eleven stories written in the "spare, gnarly prose" that her readers have become acqainted with through her novels, The Shipping News and Accordion Crimes, and other story collections. In the last story in this collection, Brokeback Mountain, she deals most effectively with the homoerotic strain in American culture, when she writes of Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist and their 20-year relationship. This story was the basis of a film by the same name, featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger.
Annie Proulx's stories hold the reader's interest; there is no doubt about that. This collection of short stories is dynamic and paints, I think, a realistic picture of the modern West but still contains random sparks of fantasy throughout. Her characters are typically gritty, jaded, and generally worn down by the dust, sun and bone-chilling winters of Montana. While "Brokeback Mountain" is part of this collection, it is by no means the best of it. Reading this made me want to read more of her work.
These are amazing, heart-wrenching stories, but not for the faint of heart -- they can be gut-wrenching, too. Annie Proulx guns down one cliche after the next in her beautiful descriptions of life out West. Saddle up and get ready to ride America's lonely range.