Sunday, 14 June 2015

Boop's Bookshelf: Close Range by Annie Proulx

Close Range checks off 'A book of short stories' in my 2015 reading challenge 

The Author

Annie Proulx is an American journalist and author. She writes several collections of short stories, and her most well known work would be Brokeback Mountain - which was adapted into a film. (However, many people who have seen the film wouldn't know it was originally a short story). Incidentally, Brokeback Mountain is included in this collection of short stories.
She has won several awards through her career, including a Pulitzer Prize, the Dos Passos Prize and the O. Henry Prize twice - both for stories within the Close Range collection. 
Proulx currently lives in Wyoming, the area in which Close Range is set.

The Synopsis
How does one write a synopsis on a collection of short stories? 

Close Range is a collection of stories all set in the Wyoming - a mountain region in the West of America. The stories are set at different time periods, however there are common themes throughout such as life as a rancher and the open spaces of Wyoming. All of the stories and all of the characters revolve around life in Wyoming.

My Thoughts
It's very rare that I read a book of short stories. In fact, I don't think I have ever read a book of short stories! Annie Proulx was able to create scenes in rich detail, no matter how short the story was. each of her stories were written differently, some very differently which I think is an impressive talent - usually an author has a recognizable style that comes through in their writing, but with Proulx this was not the case. I found that engaging and impressive.

The hardship and moral ambiguity of the characters and their situations really stands out through all of the stories. The immoral situations that they find themselves in are often written in as throwaway comments, and treated as normal or expected - especially the rape of women through the different time periods. It made an impact, and helped to make the reader understand how things were and the character's attitudes to life. It made an impact.

All of the stories really drive home the feeling of an open, sparse area where you don't come across many other people. The characters all seemed to be stuck in Wyoming, or always coming back to it.

My Rating...
3.5 stars

I enjoyed reading it, I admire the authors writing skills and it's a collection I may reread in future.