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Author Topic: Annie Proulx  (Read 186655 times)

Offline Dave Cullen

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Annie Proulx
« on: December 25, 2005, 09:15:55 AM »
Has anyone read The Shipping News or Postcards or the other stories in Wyoming Stories or any of Annie's other books? What did you think?

Or do you want to read more of her after this?

Those who know her work well, what do you recommend?

Offline Melisande

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2005, 10:46:21 AM »
I couldn't get through the Shipping News. It didn't take off for me and I gave up after about 150 pages. A friend has told me it's worth the effort in the end, but I don't think I'll try again. Right now I have Wyoming stories checked out of the library and if I ever get off the computer I'll read a few. 
let be, let be

Offline rick

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2005, 06:16:39 PM »
I read Shipping News about 2 yrs ago ago. I was amazed that the Lesbian sub text was totally erased in the film version. Anyway, I had to force myself to read it as the prose had a disquieting flow to it. Nevertheless, I knew that i was experiencing a unique voice & hence slogged thru it.  I was able to better appreciate her after reading her recent interviews as she explained her fascination w folkways & rural culture. Shipping News does bear that truth.

I next purchased Wyoming Stories as a book-on-tape but quickly abandoned it. Proulx is too difficult/ rich to aurally appreciate.

Offline Ranchgal

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2005, 07:15:46 PM »
I have read most of the Close Range stories.  none were as good or touched as deep as BBM to me though.
I like them, though alot of her focus goes toward the tragedy and darkness in things.
You don't find too many uplifts in this book in my mind.    I do like a couple of them quite a bit, I did like  The Mud Below, Pair of Spurs, and Bunchgrass at the edge of the world.
And People in Hell just want a glass of Water--made me just depressed, and the tragic there is man's inhumanity to man.   IT was very different from BBM and did not touch me as deep either, but it made me very sad. But I couldn't quit reading it either.

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2005, 11:20:26 PM »
I have read most of the Close Range stories.  none were as good or touched as deep as BBM to me though.

I have read a handful, and similar response so far. Not bad, but so far none really grabbed me. Nothing like Brokeback. I'll try those others you suggested next.

Offline wiley

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2005, 10:03:08 AM »
Close Range: There was one story, "The Half-Skinned Steer," that was haunting. I liked it most in that collection. She reminds me of Flannery O'Conner.

Offline Ranchgal

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2005, 11:02:31 AM »
that one is haunting---and hits alittle close to home right now---as we are starting to have issues about limitations and one's realizing them as one ages.
My Mom is still driving everywhere at 85---and is a very good driver---but we her family are noticiing changes in her vision and awareness that is starting to be a concern---SO when I read that one, it gives me the shivers.

Offline Melisande

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All About Annie
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2005, 09:56:25 PM »
Want to discuss Annie? Here's the place.
let be, let be

Offline Alex

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Re: All About Annie
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2005, 01:57:35 AM »
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can't fix it you've got to stand it.

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2005, 02:08:10 PM »
That one sounds really interesting. I'll read it next.

(As soon as I finished The Year of Magical Thinking. I just started it last night. Hard to put down. And I'm also slogging my way through The Sound and the Fury, but that's hard! hehehe. Well it is. But I loved As I Lay Dying, so hopefully it will be worth it.

Offline WLAGuy

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2005, 02:21:35 PM »
I read all of the stories in Close Range -- I think in the order in which they appear in the book, which a friend had lent me.  I can't remember if he told me about BBM beforehand, or just waited to see if it would stand out for me the way it did for him.  What I do remember is that BBM stood out from the rest of the stories in that book like a diamond in a tray of cut glass.  Actually that's not a fair analogy, because the rest of her stories are very, very good.  It's just that I can't think of a better metaphor than that to describe the way BBM's impact on me. 

Offline peteinportland

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2005, 07:40:31 AM »
I loved The Shipping News (did not see the movie), but I enjoy books that explore themes of isolation and the role that place plays in shaping individuals and communities. If you feel that you really "get" BBM, you might enjoy TSN now as the thematic elements are very similar.

I agree that BBM was the best of WS, but I think even Annie might argue that BBM is her best piece of work in any form.

Offline mary

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2005, 04:34:50 PM »
I really enjoyed the Shipping new as well. Enough to make sure I read Accordion Crimes when it came out. I haven't gotten to That Old Ace in the hole yet.

Pete I'd like to hear more about your impression of the thematic similarities.  I remember frustration at Quoyle at times, not understanding why he did what he did, but unable to stop reading. It's been a while so my memory of the book is a bit vague
never enough time, never enough....

Some fictional characters are less fictional than others

Offline Rockbern

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Re: Annie Proulx's other books
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2005, 10:45:29 AM »
I am interested in hearing other posters' reactions to Annie Proulx's complete turn around concerning her relationship with her created characters - Jack and Ennis.
 
Quote
Interview with Annie Proulx

by The Missouri Review Staff

Interviewer: Have you ever fallen in love with one of your characters?

Proulx: I have never fallen in love with one of my characters. The notion is repugnant. Characters are made to carry a particular story; that is their work. The only reason one shapes a character to look as he or she does, behave and speak in a certain way, suffer particular events, is to move the story forward in a particular direction. I do not indulge characters nor give them their heads and "see where they go," and I don't understand writers who drift downriver in company with unformed characters. The character, who may seem to hold center stage in a novel, and in a limited sense does, actually exists to support the story. This is not to say that writing a character is like building a model airplane. The thoughtful and long work of inventing a believable and fictionally "true" person on paper is exhilarating, particularly as one knowingly skates near the thin ice of caricature.

And on her website she gives this retraction:

"There is one lie in this interview where I said I had never fallen in love with any of my characters. I think I did fall in love with both Jack and Ennis, or some other strong feeling of connection which has persisted for the 8 years since the story was written."


Apparently it was caused by her viewing of the film.  It 'knocked [her] for a loop'.  She goes on ... " And, when I saw the film for the first time, I was astonished that the characters of Jack and Ennis came surging into my mind again, for (hence the lie in Missouri Review ) I thought I had successfully banished them over the years. Wrong."
Our fantasies keep us sane in an incomprehensible, indifferent universe - inevitably, we comprehend them as reality itself.

 
 

Offline evie

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Re: All About Annie
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2005, 05:24:33 PM »
I thought I would get the book Close Range: Wyoming Stories from my local library. All ten copies are checked out, as are all six copies of Brokeback Mountain, which I have already read on the ‘Net. So perhaps my dreary suburban town harbors some like-minded spirits after all!

Meanwhile, I did my search under the author’s name, and smiled a little to see the titles of some of Annie Proulx’s earlier works from the early and mid ‘80s:

Sweet & Hard Cider: Making it, Using it & Enjoying It

Plan and Make Your Own Fences & Gates, Walkways, Walls & Drives

The Fine Art of Salad Gardening

I’m sure those books were sheer rent-paying drudgery and we all remember those days in our own professional lives. Thanks Annie, for following your muse. The Shipping News astonished me and Brokeback Mountain, the movie, has altered my life.
Let 'er rip and snort boys