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Friday, 18 October 2013

E. Annie Proulx

Here's another repost from October 2006:

Annie Proulx (pronounced 'Proo') is a writer of wonderful fiction. Her densely written, observational style is packed with lots of detail and a very strong sense of place, such as the unfashionable parts of Newfoundland, Wyoming and Texas. Her descriptive writing always reminds me of John Steinbeck's work due to her obvious affection for the places and kinds of people who are not usually the heroes of modern fiction. She has a Dickensian knack of naming her characters in an outlandish way that very soon seems to be perfectly natural.
For example “That Old Ace in The Hole” (2002) features, among others, Jerky Baum, Pecan Flagg, Blowy Cluck, Coolbroth Fronk, and Waldo Beautyrooms. It’s the story of Bob Dollar, hired by Global Pork Rind to buy up small farms, in the Texas panhandle town of Woolybucket, so that they can be turned into hog farms under the guise of buying land for luxury housing. The book touches on the larger issue of pollution and depletion of the water table as a background. The story is fairly thin on plot but rich in character and anecdote.
“Accordion Crimes” (1996) lovingly tells the story of a succession of owners of an accordion. Annie Proulx is a dispassionate observer of life but she does not shy away from unpleasant scenes and can be brutally honest in her depiction of those who are the losers in life’s lottery.
“The Shipping News” (1993) is a magnificent novel that demands a lot from the reader, whose attentiveness will be richly rewarded. At the start of each chapter a picture of a different type of knot is shown and this turns out to have a metaphorical reference to the content of that chapter. It was turned into a successful movie with Kevin Spacey in 2001. In a similar way “Postcards”(1992) showed a drawing of a postcard at the start of each chapter with a message that was sometimes directly relevant to the story and sometimes just added background colour. In 1997 she wrote a short story which was published in a collection of her work called "Close Range: Wyoming Stories" (1999) which was filmed in 2005. That was the very successful "Brokeback Mountain", in which she typically tackled a subject that had hitherto been taboo in mainstream literature.
October 2013 update: As far as I can determine she has only published 'Fine Just The Way It Is' (2008) since my original post.

14 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

And I wish she would publish more. Greedy of me I know.
And I prefer her books to the movies. (Which is probably just me, I don't do movies well.)

bazza said...

Hello EC. She's 78 now and quite probably retired, but I share your hunger.
I find most books are superior to the movie; the scenery is so much better!
Thanks for visiting.

David said...

Hi bazza,
Coincidentally, I recently bought a copy of "Fine Just the Way it is" from our local library. I haven't read it yet, but it was on sale for only 10p! I'll have to let you know what I make of it.
Very Best Wishes,
David.

bazza said...

Hello David. Wow, that sounds like a great find. She is certainly a good writer although, of course, not to everyone's taste. I am sure that you have the intellectual capacity to appreciate her work!
I think that, if you enjoy it, you will want to read her other stuff afterwards.

klahanie said...

Greetings human, bazza,

I've given my alleged human the heads up on Annie Proulx. He needs to expand his literary horizons.

My human should go to the library with David and see what he can discover.

Oh, I note my human has made mention of your triumphant return on his site, which is actually my site.

Pawsitive wishes,

Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

bazza said...

From Bazza’s cat Ginger:
Hi Penny. Interesting that your owner is "allegedly" human! Frankly I have had my doubts about him.
You keep on letting him think he is in control. Go Penny, go girl!

Suzanne Bean said...

Hello: I've really enjoyed looking over your blog, interesting and wonderful content. And I appreciate you visiting my blog after dear Gary or Penny, I wonder who it might have been, demanded you have a look at my work. Great blog!!!
Kind regards,
Suzanne

Denise Covey said...

Hi bazza. I was prompted by Gary to visit some new bloggers, but I see I have been here before. If you're wanting some more blog exposure, I think you might enjoy The Armchair Squid's book review club. We post once a month and posts like this one on the fabulous Annie Proulx would be most welcome. This month we post Friday, 25th.

Oops. And it'd be great if you could delete Word Verification. Virtually no one has them any more and they are murder!!

Sherry Ellis said...

I'd like to read Postcards. Thank you for sharing about the books.

bazza said...

Hi Suzanne. Thanks for those kind word and for visiting! Sorry for the delay in responding; my computer is being repaired. I'm using Mrs Bazza's iPad. Gary is a great Blogger isn't he?

bazza said...

Hello Denise: I will check that out. Thanks for informing me. I had no idea that awful verification was on my Blog! I will delete te ASAP. I hate them too. I have commented on your Blog long ago and will do so again.

bazza said...

Hi Sherry: I think that if you enjoy Postcards you will be hooked on her writing! Thanks for visiting.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Hi Bazza! Hope you're well.

Annie certainly has some of the most unique character names I've ever read. I too, prefer the books rather than the movies.
You've an exceptional review. Are you published somewhere other than here?

bazza said...

Hi Dixie, it's good to hear from you.
I'm flattered to think that anyone else may want to publish my reviews, but this is the only place they appear. However, if you see Denise's comment, above, I just might be tempted.....
I hope you are ready to resume posting soon!
Best regards, Bazza.