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Fine Just the Way it Is

(Wyoming Stories #3)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,333 ratings  ·  370 reviews
Generations struggle in the American frontier West. "Every ranch...had lost a boy," thinks Dakotah Hicks as she drives through "the hammered red landscape" of Wyoming, "boys smiling, sure in their risks, healthy, tipped out of the current of life by liquor and acceleration, rodeo smashups, bad horses, deep irrigation ditches, high trestles, tractor rollovers and 'unloaded' ...more
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Scribner
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3.81  · 
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 ·  2,333 ratings  ·  370 reviews

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Julene Bair
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I lived in Laramie and taught at the university, I knew several people who might have stepped right out of the pages of Fine Just the Way It Is. True, that was pretty much their philosophy. But never has it been so apparent to me all the suffering that lies under that grin up and bear it facade. And never have I read a more depressing story than “Tits-Up in a Ditch.” I’m not sure I’ll ever recover. To be born into such a family, then to meet a few people capable of expressing true thoughts ...more
I love fiction which evokes particular cultures in a way that captures the essence of a particular place or region. Here in nine stories Proulx eloquently does that for the semi-desert plains of Wyoming, spanning timepoints from the 1880’s to the current era, from a time of the open range and homesteading, to a time of farming growth wrought by the arrival of the railroads, to the current period of oil schemes and cowboys mostly confined to rodeos.

Several traditional stories focus on people who
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with rating this collection. Do I rate on the quality of writing, the quality of the stories, or how they made me feel?

Proulx excels at writing about rural life—in describing the environment, people and regional dialects whether on the shores of Newfoundland in The Shipping News, Texas and Oklahoma in That Old Ace in the Hole, or rural Wyoming of her Wyoming Tales. For example, in this collection describing the drought of a Wyoming summer in Them Old Cowboy Songs she writes: "July wa
I’m such a lazy person. Too often I write really quite the best reviews in the world in my head – and that’s enough for me. I move on. They never see the light of day.

I read this at the same time as I read my first book of Alice Munro stories and my first inclination was to write something where something of a shadow cast over Munro would be to the benefit of Proulx, a writer who has never disappointed me and I’ve read all of them. Checking, I see that I’m talking about early 2014 – over four ye
Her Wyoming characters are so vivid, but her stories are often brutal. A great read.
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well, these are not happy stories. I'll get that out of the way. But man can this woman write. I've read everything she has written starting back with The Shipping News. Actually not. She had a couple of lesser known efforts before that and some works of non fiction. But all the fiction since The Shipping News. I've been hoping she would come out with a new novel. I don't remember her novels as being this dark. (And I believe she has something being released in 2015. Don't know if it is a novel. ...more
I thought I would really like this book, first because I began it, coincidentally, just after I finished watching the TV series, Longmire, in which place, Wyoming, plays such a central role, as it does in Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3. Second, the audiobook was read by Will Patton, my favorite reader of most of James Lee Burke's audiobooks. Third, though I didn't read Brokeback Mountain, I loved the movie. So, I was all set to get into this book. Though I really tried, I could not f ...more
Gregory Baird
“That was the trouble with Wyoming; everything you ever did or said kept pace with you right to the end.”

When it comes to description, Annie Proulx is undoubtedly one of the best and most unique writers out there. With her blunt, unsparing prose, a fierce intellect and a coal black sense of humor, Proulx can paint a vivid and stark portrait of American life, and nowhere is this on better display than in her Wyoming Stories, where the hardscrabble existences of her characters go hand in hand wi
Jul 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It has been said that the selection committee for the winner of the Nobel prize for literature is biased against American writers. For the most part I think those critics do not really appreciate the breadth of writing talent that exists globally. However, each time I read one of Annie Proulx's works I move closer to the sentiment that those critics may be correct. Within six months after each years winner is announced, I read one of the recipient's books. Most times I am moved by the richness o ...more
Jun 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grad-school
"Bill Fur had to ride into Rawlins and ask for a replacment for 'the bible thumpin, damn old goggle-eyed snappin turtle who run off.' The replacement, plucked from a Front Street saloon, was a tough drunk who lit his morning fires with pages from the former operator's bible and ate one pronghorn a week, scorching the meat in a never-washed skillet."

Can it get better than that?
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I lived in Wyoming for a long time and enjoyed exactly none of it. I tried and failed to read this for years, only because Annie Proulx so perfectly captures that environment that I remember with disdain. Poor Wyoming, reviled in my esteem. Anyone with an apathetic to positive view of the place will likely love this collection; the problem of place is fully my own. But returning to that Red Red Wasteland, where the wind never stops howling, and people really do say, “Cowboy Up!” wasn’t the most ...more
T P Kennedy
A challenging collection of stories. As a portrayal of characters living in an unforgiving landscape this works. However, the stories come across as slight and the character don't seem to have space to breathe. It's well worth reading but not the best of her writing.
Scott Foley
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Annie Proulx continues her mastery of the short story.

In Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3, Proulx once again gives us stories primarily taking place in or associated with Wyoming. Her characters are terribly human--warts and all--and her stories are typically blunt, to the point, and full of (sometimes brief) life.

But, as straightforward as her stories are with their plainspoken characters, Proulx also delivers stunningly beautiful narrative language when detailing landscapes, flora, a
Steve Petherbridge
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There is no author better writing about a sense of place and then immersing the reader in that place, in this case once again, Annie Proulx's beloved Wyoming. For these characters are striving after the idealised American Dream or that idealised Dream has passed them by forever really. Life is tough, yet there is an acceptable, sometimes intolerable, resilience and persistence among these characters that, yes, life is a bitch and it is a daily struggle. This is the other side to America. The Ame ...more
Vel Veeter
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: cbr-10
This is the weakest of the three Wyoming Stories collections that Annie Proulx released. I would have to say a long collection culled from all three would have been the best way to present the total package with a handful from each and a few of the weaker or empty stories completely removed would have worked best for me. In this one, there are a few very good stories, as you would expect from a strong writer. The first story “Family Man” about an older man in a retirement community sort of regre ...more
Oct 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Following on my short story kick, I read Alice Munro then Annie Proulx. At the end of that journey I'd like say that I think I'd prefer if these two authors were actually one author. Munro has a tendency to describe the most minute variegates of emotion in a single social interaction. The way someone turns their head creates rippled of emotions. On the other side of that, Annie P will tell the story of a girl ignored and abused by her grandparents, yet just allude to the emotional interior of he ...more
Nov 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: if you've ever driven through Crowheart...
Recommended to Kirsten by: my Mom
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kasa Cotugno
Dec 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Annie Proulx is a fearless writer. Her prose can be as uncompromising as the Wyoming landscape she inhabits, but, like it, laden with complexity; as well, it can paint poetic images (crones vied for the favors of palsied men with beef jerkey arms. The men could taken their pick of shapeless housecoats and flowery skeletons." "Herons flying upstream, their color matching the sky so closely they might have been eyes of wind." Each piece deals with yet another aspect of the history of the land, and ...more
Annie Proulx's stories, in this collection at any rate, are well-crafted, rarely a word out of place, with some tight endings, and a couple of funnier stories -- the one about the Devil renovating Hell comes to mind. She's good at painting scenes, detail, a touch of character. Still, there's something about it that's opaque to me -- I don't get involved in the writing, just dispassionately observe it. Maybe that's what's meant to happen, I don't know, but I'm not a huge fan of that method -- if ...more
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
More Wyoming stories from the lady that brought us "Brokeback Mountain".
About six or seven short stories here, set in rural Wyoming (with two others set in Hell, go figure), very similar to her other stories set in the west. Achingly good reading, and achingly brutal endings. You feel kinship to the characters, even though they are not at all like you, nor is the setting around them anything like what most Americans can really understand.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Bleak, bleak, bleak. These short stories are well written and set either in Wyoming or Hell. The stories set in Hell feel more jolly than the desperate lives of cow hands, subsistence farmers, and wounded lovers. No happy endings and some stereotypical representations. I was really disappointed in this book but gave it 3 stars because the writing works, I just don't recommend the journey.
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
After reading "Close Range", Proulx's brilliant short story collection that included "Brokeback Mountain" you can't help but think that the stories in "Bad Dirt 2" and now "Fine Just The Way Is" are not up to the same level of quality,
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Her writing is simply great and these stories of the west reveal the brutal reality of pioneering, ranching, the hard scrabble life of ranchers and cowboys. That said, there are two stories written "by" the Devil which are so darkly hilarious, I had tears in my eyes laughing.
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: x2008-9-season
As the second collection I have read by her, it was nice to see an expanded range of topics this time around. All of the stories are enjoyable for their completely human protagonists and the unpredictable nature of the plotting.
May 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Proulx is at her best in her stories of rough-bitten Wyoming folks with Dickensian names. It's when she veers into fantasy stories of hell, or prehistoric Indians that she falls flat on her face.
Charlie Quimby
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: colorado-west
A third in Proulx's series of Wyoming stories. Wry and red dusted for authenticity, but not spectacular. Fine just the way they are.
Feb 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
most of the stories were excellent as ever with AP, rich poignant and vibrant - didn't like the ones about the devil too much though
Leigh Lyndon
Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it
i love being in the western landscape - both emotional and physical. i wasn't as captivated by the stories as i have been in the past. still enjoyed it.
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yikes. She is a good writer, but this was one of the most unremittingly bleak books I have read. Do not read with a loaded gun in the house.
Jenny Shank
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it

Annie Proulx’s Wyoming Is “Fine Just the Way It Is”
Annie Proulx shines again in her third collection of Wyoming stories.

By Jenny Shank, 9-08-08

Fine Just the Way it Is: Wyoming Stories 3
by Annie Proulx
Scribner, 240 pages, $25

In an award-studded writing career now in its third decade, Annie Proulx has made the remarkable transition from east-coast-based Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist to much lauded Wyoming short story writer, and she’s brought her devoted r
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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

Other books in the series

Wyoming Stories (3 books)
  • Close Range
  • Bad Dirt