Sunday, November 30, 2008

Proulx, Annie (Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2)

I made the mistake of reading the first Wyoming Stories collection (Close Range) before seeing Brokeback Mountain, which somewhat ruined the movie for me. Here's hoping none of her other stories get made into film, because I did it again.

And I'm doubting these will-- the first collection was sweeping, lonely, grandiose, heartbreaking. Pretty much everything you think of when you think of Wyoming. The second collection has stories are spiteful (Man Crawling Out of Trees), ridiculous (The Hellhole), and wrong (Florida Rental). They all seem to center on the fact that now she's lived in Wyoming for a while, has gotten used to it, lost the rose-colored glasses, and is now a teeny bit bitter about her chosen state.

She's still an excellent writer even when she's off target. Descriptions of how particular rednecks live or what the wind feels like when it blows every day all day do work. But she needs to stay away from one-liners and meandering tales that end with entirely different conclusions.

I may read Fine Just the Way It Is (the third collection of Wyoming Stories), but only if someone tells me it's better than this one.

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