Fine Just the Way It Is : Wyoming Stories 3, Paperback Book

Fine Just the Way It Is : Wyoming Stories 3 Paperback

3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The fantastic new collection of stories from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of `The Shipping News' and `Brokeback Mountain'. `Fine Just The Way It Is' marks Annie Proulx's return to the Wyoming of `Brokeback Mountain' and the familiar cast of hardy, unsentimental prairie folk.

The stories are cast over centuries, and capture the voices and lives of the settlers this sagebrushed and weatherworn country has known, from the native Indian tribes to the modern day ranch owners and politicians, and their cowboy forebears. In `A Family Man', an old man nearing the end of his life unburdens himself of the weighty family secrets that were his father's unwelcome legacy. `Them Old Cowboy Songs' follows Archie and Rosie, a young pioneer couple, and their hardships in their attempt to homestead in the exposed wintry expanses of the prairie, and `Testimony of the Donkey' finds a young international couple, Marc and Caitlin, struggling with much more modern concerns, and confronting uncertainty as their relationship comes to its end. These are stories of desperation and hard times, often marked by an inescapable sadness, set in a landscape both brutal and magnificent.

Enlivened by folk tales, flights of fancy, and details of ranch and rural work, they juxtapose Wyoming's traditional character and attitudes - confrontation of tough problems, prejudice, persistence in the face of difficulty - with the more benign values of the new west.

These are bold, elegant and memorable pieces, and once more confirm Annie Proulx as one of the most talented, unique short story writers in the language.


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Review by

Another collection of short stories, mainly about Wyoming, with a few fantastic tales - a couple of slight tales about the devil, a story about a sagebrush plant and a prehistoric tale of Wyoming, "Deep-Blood-Greasy-Bowl", these add variety but not depth and are unremarkable.The Wyoming stories are good and consistent with those in her earlier collections of short stories, Close Range and Bad Dirt. I enjoyed the final story, "Tits-up in a Ditch", most, although all the Wyoming stories are melancholy tales, with only small glimpses of happiness briefly enjoyed in a hard life.

Review by

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 it proves to be a method.<br/><br/>I have some of her other writing to read, and I'll get to it eventually, but not in a hurry. I do want to reread 'Brokeback Mountain' sometime soon: I remember liking it quite a lot (before I ever saw the movie).

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