Bookshop's Reviews > Close Range: Brokeback Mountain and Other stories

Close Range by Annie Proulx
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's review
Jul 29, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction
Read in January, 2007

When I discovered that the movie was based on an award winning short story which was first published in the New Yorker, I was intrigued. So I bought this edition which is published as a movie tie-in.

The written form sorts of explain of some aspects of the movie which I find confusing such as what happened to Jack Twist in the end. Brokeback Mountain is perhaps the only readable story in this collection. Brokeback Mountain the story is bare and gritty as the movie is lush and tender. I applaud Ang Lee for sticking true to the story and yet improving it tremendously into a pictorial poetry.

The rest of the stories are incomprehensible to me because they are written in 'cowboy-speak'. I have trouble understanding the manner of speaking. Some of the story flows are also disjointed. One story 55 miles to the gas pump is only three paragraphs, reads like a children's writing, and has no ending. Lack of conclusion is very common in this collection.

I do wonder whether I cannot enjoy the book because I am not an American and therefore cannot imagine the sceneries and the conditions. Beware also that everything in this book is gruesome and painful and hopeless. Reading this book seriously altered my mood.

Peeking into Amazon UK, I note a mixed review of either a five or a one. There's no middle ground. Upon scrutiny, I notice that a lot of those who have given five are actually talking about the story "Brokeback Mountain" and not necessarily about the other stories.

I must say finishing this book is painful. When the book arrived, I jumped straight into Brokeback Mountain and found it agreeable. This is probably the first time that I find a movie better than the book it is based on. I put it away for quite a little while before picking it up again to finish with the same stoicism one has while going to a dentist. But I did it.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Kerry (new)

Kerry I completely agree with you on the "cowboy speak" part! It is simply too pretentious and incomprehensible for my taste. I gave up after 10 pages as I found her writing utterly dreadful. I didn't even finish Brokeback Mountain, even though I love the movie.

message 2: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Hewitt I found the dialogue to be very authentic. This truly is how folks talk in Wyoming, at least once you get out of town. The stories and characters would be less without it, in the same way that Roddy Doyle uses language in his books, or the way it is used in HBO's The Wire.

Remember, too, that the reason the stories sometimes seem incomplete is because the people and their lives are fleeting, secondary to the eternal elements of the landscape.

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