Cover image for Close range : Wyoming stories
Close range : Wyoming stories
Proulx, Annie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Scribner, [1999]

Physical Description:
283 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
The half-skinned steer -- The mud below -- Job history -- The blood bay -- People in hell just want a drink of water -- The bunchgrass edge of the world -- Pair of spurs -- A lonely coast -- The governors of Wyoming -- 55 miles to the gas pump -- Brokeback Mountain.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Library
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Annie Proulx's masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in this collection of stories about loneliness, quick violence, and wrong kinds of love. In "The Mud Below," a rodeo rider's obsession marks the deepening fissures between his family life and self-imposed isolation. In "The Half-Skinned Steer," an elderly fool drives west to the ranch he grew up on for his brother's funeral, and dies a mile from home. In "Brokeback Mountain," the difficult affair between two cowboys survives everything but the world's violent intolerance.

These are stories of desperation, hard times, and unlikely elation, 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.

Stories in Close Range have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, and GQ. They have been selected for the O. Henry Stories 1998 and The Best American Short Stories of the Century and have won the National Magazine Award for Fiction. This is work by an author writing at the peak of her craft.

Author Notes

Edna Annie Proulx was born in Norwich, Connecticut on August 22, 1935. She graduated from the University of Vermont in 1969 and earned an M. A. from Sir George Williams University in Montreal in 1973. She was a journalist, wrote nonfiction articles for numerous publications, and was the author of several "how-to" books before beginning to write fiction in her 50s.

She became the first woman to win the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, for her debut novel Postcards. Her novel The Shipping News won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award in 1994. Accordion Crimes, published in 1996, won the Dos Passos Prize for literature. She also won the O. Henry prize for the year's best short story twice; in 1998 for Brokeback Mountain and in 1999 for The Mud Below. She has written more than 50 articles and stories for periodicals and edited Best American Short Stories of 1997.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Celebrated author Proulx's last book, Accordion Crimes (1996), was called a novel but is essentially a cycle of connected stories, a form, as proven here, perfectly suited to her straight-shooting voice. These stories share as their theme and setting her home state of Wyoming, a wild and scouring place of endless wind that delivers storms, droughts, and floods of biblical intensity. The very shape and sound of Proulx's booted and spurred sentences evoke the harshness of this land in all its grave beauty and embody the hard-bitten sensibility of its people. Most of the confrontations Proulx enacts are timeless in their elementariness, but others portray the soul-shriveling difficulties inherent in trying to make a living in this land of stone and cold as beef profits fall, a family-owned gas station goes under when an old highway is abandoned for an expressway, and an influx of Hollywood types and other prosperous outsiders wanting to play cowboy and cowgirl turns ranches into theme parks. But Proulx always returns to the basics: earth and family, lust and survival. An old man sums it up in "The Bunchgrass Edge of the World" when he muses, "The main thing in life is staying power," a resiliency Proulx's stoic characters test repeatedly whether they're riding rodeo bulls, risking their lives in a blizzard, or mixing it up at the bar, only feeling fully alive when they're testing themselves against the greater powers. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)0684852217Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

This marvelous collection proves that Proulx's Pulitzer Prize for The Shipping News was no one-shot deal. Set in Wyoming, the 11 stories "feature down-on-their-luck ranchers, cowboys, and working men who watch helplessly as the modern world leaves them behind." (LJ 5/1/99) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

The Half-Skinned Steerp. 17
The Mud Belowp. 39
Job Historyp. 79
The Blood Bayp. 89
People in Hell Just Want a Drink of Waterp. 95
The Bunchgrass Edge of the Worldp. 117
Pair a Spursp. 147
A Lonely Coastp. 185
The Governors of Wyomingp. 207
55 Miles to the Gas Pumpp. 247
Brokeback Mountainp. 251