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Close Range: Wyoming Stories (Wyoming Stories #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,453 Ratings  ·  789 Reviews
Annie Proulx's masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in this collection of stories about loneliness, quick violence, and wrong kinds of love. In "The Mud Below," a rodeo rider's obsession marks the deepening fissures between his family life and self-imposed isolation. In "The Half-Skinned Steer," an elderly fool drives west to the ranch he grew up on fo ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 288 pages
Published May 10th 1999 by Scribner (first published 1999)
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I appreciated this almost as well as the third in her collection of “Wyoming Stories”, Fine Just the Way It Is . There is a lot of variety among the eleven stories, but it has cohesion from the Wyoming setting and common struggles of people there to achieve their dreams, whether it’s ranching or rodeo bull riding. They keep you on your toes, as some stories end with a bang and others with a whimper, some stay coast downward in gritty reality and others break into the fantasy of a ghost story or ...more
Jul 31, 2012 Melki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Annie Proulx proves she's got bigger balls than most of the male writers out there.
Whether they're roping, ranching, or riding the rodeo, the characters in these tales are all tough, hard-living people who do what needs to be done and don't spend a lot of time whining about it.

Some of their exploits made my mouth drop open:

Their endurance of pain was legendary. When a section of narrow mountain trail broke away under Marion's horse, the horse falling with him onto rocks below, the a
"It was her voice that drew you in... she could make you smell the smoke from an unlit fire."
That refers to a character in one of the stories, but is just as applicable to Proulx herself.

This is a collection of short stories of Wyoming ranchers. It's a harsh environment and a harsh life: men and women alike have to be tough. "Wyos are touchers, hot blooded and quick, and physically yearning. Maybe it's because they spend so much time handling livestock".

There are few sympathetic characters, alle
I recently reread this and just want to say (again and again) that I love it. I am awed by the talent for authentically, seamlessly and irresistibly writing the vernacular of a place -- its landscape and language and quirks and peeves, everything to do with the habits of its people and weather, ultimately situated so as to be seen within the grand scheme of things or some semblance thereof. And I marvel even more at the mastery required to do that within the confines of a short story.

The great
Jan 15, 2010 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Tell you what, them queer cowboys like to broke my heart. Annie Proulx, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Your strange mix of roughed up realism and supernatural does something to my insides. It’s too much for ordinary sentence structure. Pours out all over the confines of punctuation, seeping into my subconscious until I’m drunk and reeling reading just a sentence then a few paragraphs and soon the whole story to anyone who’ll listen. And still I want more.
Jul 11, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it
The stark beauty of wide open spaces and the love of outdoor life bonded many of the characters to the land in Annie Proulx's first book of her Wyoming trilogy. But other characters left the hardships, isolation, and loneliness of the rural Wyoming towns, never to return. Some worked tough, physical, low-paying jobs in the harsh Wyoming environment and used alcohol to cope. Wealthy people bought failing ranches to use as dude ranches for weekend getaways.

Close Range: Wyoming Stories is composed
Ian Hewitt
Oct 27, 2011 Ian Hewitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly wonderful book, that I don't mind telling you made me cry like a baby.

"Nobody leaves Wyoming unless they have to," Annie Proulx. I'm pleased I waited until I had to leave Wyoming to read this book, despite it stirring powerful feelings of homesickness. I had encountered 1-2 Proulx stories in the New Yorker before now, I had loved the film version of Brokeback Mountain, and of course, I lived in Laramie for a decade where Proulx is something of a quiet celebrity.

The passage quoted below,
Dec 03, 2013 Charissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a brain
I absolutely love E. Annie Proulx. She does that thing with words that makes me go all dissociated from the world around me and live inside the world she creates. I am almost always disturbed by her stories but I can't stop reading them. In fact, her writing is so good that when I saw "Brokeback Mountain" (which I saw *before* I read her short fic on which it was based), I didn't think it was a great story... until I read her actual story. There is ONE line in her piece that makes the story GREA ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a reality check
Shelves: troubles-abound, land
Before Brokeback Mountain gets taken entirely out of context, take a look at Annie Proulx's Close Range: Wyoming Stories, the collection in which the story is featured. If you've seen the movie but have yet to read the story, I suggest you begin here. If you've already read the story by itself, come back to this collection entire. While Diana Ossana (one of the movie's produces & screenwriters) came across it in the New Yorker and felt inspired to write a screenplay, the story itself does no ...more
Dec 05, 2007 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: b.r. myers, again, once he works through his issues in psychoanalysis
I love E. Annie Proulx. I honestly think that Myers guy must just have some problems he's got to sort out. I didn't read his book, but the examples he gave in that article of how awful her prose is only reminded me how much I enjoy her stuff, and made me want to go back and read some Proulx again. And I really don't think I'm especially pretentious, or cowed by snooty literary reviewers, whom I barely read. In fact I barely read at all these days, I have such a short attention span, and to me th ...more
 Carol ♔ Type, Oh Queen! ♔
Proulx is so good she can make me like short stories. So good she can make her words almost poetic in their beauty about Wyoming - a place where the inhabitants need to be tougher than their environment. It is a bleak hardscrabble world with only the grimmest sort of humour.

As other reviewers have mentioned, Brokeback Mountain is the outstanding tale - a love story of surprising tenderness. & I find Job History oddly flat - I'm sure it was deliberate & I have missed some subtle nuances.

Aug 29, 2009 Clinton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just reread this, after I kept looking up, seeing it on the shelf, and thinking, "Man, I need to reread that."

There isn't a wasted word in this book. The stories are lean, visceral, and operatic. Her characters and plots surprise in the way that Flannery O'Connor's do, by spontaneous manifestations of grace and evil.

The collection begins and ends with two masterpieces: "The Half-Skinned Steer"--a tale of fate that uses an Icelandic legend--and "Brokeback Mountain," a love story that rings with
Colin McKay Miller
Nov 04, 2008 Colin McKay Miller rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of stories about country livin'
I’m more inclined to recommend individual stories out of E. Annie Proulx’s Close Range as opposed to the whole book. Every story is set in Wyoming (as is noted by the book’s subtitle). This makes for an interesting dynamic as the reader already has an idea of what Wyoming is like and a setting description given in one story can bleed over into the others. The most famous story is now “Brokeback Mountain” because nothing promotes a book like the movie. (For the record, “Brokeback Mountain” is one ...more
Mar 26, 2013 Lucrezia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"La realtà non è mai un granché utile da queste parti" (Anonimo allevatore di bestiame)

Con queste laconiche parole poste ad epigrafe si apre questa raccolta di racconti di Annie Proulx. E trovo che non ve ne siano di più azzeccate per cominciare a parlarne.Invaghitami della copertina di questo libro (che ,ohimè, nella mia edizione, non è codesta, ma questa: . Che purtroppo ho trovato in versione micro , ma può essere riassunta come solitario e sperso cava
Dec 29, 2014 Hadrian rated it liked it
Uneven, yet generally interesting collection of eleven stories.

Brokeback Mountain is the one with a movie adaptation and you can see why. It's one of the best stories of the bunch - taut, well-written, emotionally complex. At her best, you could reasonably compare Proulx to Flannery O'Connor - masterly writers of the grotesque and lonesome.
Joe S
Dec 05, 2007 Joe S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my Republican rancher father, who will love the covers off this book
Shelves: short-stories
If you already know why Annie Proulx rox ur fuckin face off, then I don't know why you're reading a review instead of the book itself. It's Annie Fuckin Proulx. Read it, you bastard.

Proulx gets away with all the shit that no one else could. A grab bag of voices, all unlikely, that switch mid-sentence; stories that end long after the first narrative arc dead-ended and long before the second gets off the ground; nonsensical lines that don't mean squat no matter how you squint but sure sound purdy.
Jul 30, 2010 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a set of modern folktales. A lot of the tales are sort of frightening. Proulx has a bitter, tasty, dark humor. Most of the characters are lonely and miserable.

Proulx is a writer like McCarthy who manages to fit in a great deal of mechanical detail that somehow makes the story more gripping and immediate, instead of causing it to lag. The difference between Proulx and McCarthy (as fierce, modern writers of westerns) is that McCarthy can write convincingly about the punishing violence of t
Sep 14, 2010 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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." (99)

Annie Proulx creates some very convincing characters and stories. Her descriptions and sentences often make me reread and analyze them, how amazing her metaphors and deep her imagery. She is an extremely talented writer.

All of these stories are steeped in Wyoming culture, life and lore. The collection starts out very strong, and ends even stronger, alth
Apr 06, 2010 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The conventional wisdom in short stories, I feel, is that they encompass short periods of time and examine the profound significance of small events. The stories in Close Range, however, seem to take the opposite approach - lifetimes are squeezed into ten or twenty pages, the distilled essence of memories are arranged like objects on a table that, taken together, capture the undercurrent of entire lives. In this way they read like novels that have been boiled down, their steam piped through an a ...more
Oct 07, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. I usually react a bit badly to the faux-naif voice, which she slips in and out of. But eventually the overwrought language began to seem just exuberant. And the tragedies of the stories were more celebratory than painful: these characters push almost joyfully toward their doom. (Christ, I loved "The Blood Bay," the little yarn that stops long before the characters get whatever it is they have coming.) The leaping language that stops every once in a while to use their voice -- "Pair A ...more
Dec 16, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a beautifully written book. The prose is so well crafted and polished until it shines. Annie Proulx’s subtle mixture of the character’s voice and local dialect and slang with her own elegiac descriptions is a great example of free indirect style. She is amazing at describing landscapes and summing up people in a few sentences and she’s good at the subtlety of smell (all these cattle ranchers pong). My favourite stories were Brokeback Mountain – but you kind of imagine the story with ...more
Should actually be subtitled "Why Not to Live in Wyoming." Seriously, this is one of the most depressing collections of short stories I've ever encountered. Which is not to say they're not good, just that I'd kind of like to challenge Proulx to write a bit of light comedy or something.

"Brokeback Mountain" is the best, and I actually find the story much more evocative and powerful than the film. (Not that Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger making out is anything to sneeze at, mind.) Still, I'm glad
Sarah Anne
This was a really amazing collection of short stories. I had several favorites throughout the book, and I was genuinely surprised that the length of the story didn't really matter to me. My favorite story, Job History, was only 10 pages. 'The Bunchgrass Edge of the World' and 'Pair a Spurs' were other favorites. I think that Proulx is an excellent writer with a pretty much limitless imagination. Among the other things that surprised me was the variety in the stories. They didn't read like more o ...more
Apr 26, 2013 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really lovely, really kind of subtly tremendous with both its people and its place. It’s just the kind of thing I want to read. It’s how to be in love with a place that will eat you alive.

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.
— “People In Hell Just Want a Drink of Water”

(In my quest to read the books my favorite authors have read, chalk up
Aug 23, 2015 Nathan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
There are two more volumes of Wyoming Stories. I'm pretty excited about that!
Jan 20, 2013 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes there are so many characters you stop paying attention to who's saying what. Sometimes there are so many storylines, one emerging from another, you forget who is being described. I could criticize Proulx for this, but the irritation is my own fault. I want to read a short story collection as fast as I read a novel, but you just can't. You need to read about one a day, and slowly with Proulx, to really absorb how full, engaging, unique and realized each story is. The lives of the charac ...more
Close Range is Annie Proulx's anthology of 11 ranch/cowboy themed short stories, including Brokeback Mountain.

I have to say, that there were a lot of good stories in here, not just the last one. I was suprised by the book in a few ways, not least being that I enjoyed every one of them, more than I thought I would. But I was mostly suprised by the dirty gritty realness of the scenes and the writing. I suppose I was expecting a sort of idyllic happy set of cowboy stories (I'm not sure why), but t
Sep 14, 2008 Herbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book like this causes its reader to thank God, unironically and humbly, for allowing her to come across it.

A few lucky accidents brought Close Range into my hands. First, we caught the last half of a very edited-for-tv Brokeback Mountain, flipping channels after a long, hot mid-Atlantic day. When I got back to Los Angeles, I mentioned to my sister that I wanted to read Brokeback Mountain, the story. She had to return some books anyway, so the next evening the book was in my hands, as if it had
Mar 05, 2013 Kenneth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just re- read "Brokeback Mountain" last night and it is far better even than I remembered. It is now officially my favorite love story of all time.

The fact that probably the best movie of 1997 was made from this short story demonstrates the pith and density of the story telling in this book. Proulx (I think rhymes with 'crew'), is, in my opinion, an absolute master of the short story genre.

I happened to also read a book by another Wyoming author, CJ Box, yesterday, the similarly titled "Out of R
Book Concierge
The star of this collection is "Brokeback Mountain," and my review and rating are specific to that story.

Ennis and Jack hire on as sheep tenders for the summer, and come to love one another. But they each go their own way, marrying and having children. Still, they "just can't quit you," and meet once or twice a year for "fishing" expeditions. The story covers 20 years of their relationship in spare language - so much is said by what is NOT said. A powerful story that haunts the reader long after
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Also published as E. Annie Proulx
Edna Annie Proulx is an American journalist and author. Her second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for fiction in 1994. Her short story "Brokeback Mountain" was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture released in 2005. Brokeback Mountain received massive c
More about Annie Proulx...

Other Books in the Series

Wyoming Stories (3 books)
  • Bad Dirt
  • Fine Just the Way it Is

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“Anyway, there's something wrong with everybody and it's up to you to know what you can handle.” 32 likes
“You stand there, braced. Cloud shadows race over the buff rock stacks as a projected film, casting a queasy, mottled ground rash. The air hisses and it is no local breeze but the great harsh sweep of wind from the turning of the earth. The wild country--indigo jags of mountain, grassy plain everlasting, tumbled stones like fallen cities, the flaring roll of sky--provokes a spiritual shudder. It is like a deep note that cannot be heard but is felt, it is like a claw in the gut...
...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.”
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