Another collection of stories takes the spotlight for this week’s Read, Reader Leader Lauren recommends Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx.
Annie Proulx‘s Close Range is a poignant and ultimately heart breaking collection of eleven short stories set amongst the achingly beautiful wild open spaces of Wyoming.
Whilst Ms Proulx’s characters are hard-bitten and hard-done by, she portrays their lives of quiet desperation amidst the cruel beauty of their surroundings unsentimentally.
“…against its fixed mass the tragedies of people count for nothing although the signs of misadventure are everywhere. No past slaughter nor cruelty, no accident nor murder that occurs on the little ranches or at the isolate crossroads with their bare populations of three or seventeen, or in the reckless trailer courts of mining towns delays the flood of morning light.
Fences, cattle, roads, refiners, mines, gravel pits, traffic lights, graffiti’s celebration of athletic victory on bridge overpass, crust of blood on the Wal-Mart loading dock, the sun-faded wreaths of plastic flowers marking death on the highway are ephemeral.
Other cultures have camped here a while and disappeared. Only earth and sky matter. Only the endlessly repeated flood of morning light. You begin to see that God does not owe us much beyond that.”
Close Range appeals to me for its superb writing – there isn’t a word in there that isn’t essential. And such superb writing gives my imagination full reign, something I appreciate in a story. But be forewarned… These stories are not for the faint-hearted.