Returning to the territory of "Brokeback Mountain" (in her first volume of Wyoming Stories) and Bad Dirt (her second), National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx delivers a stunning and visceral new collection. In Fine Just the Way It Is, she has expanded the limits of the form. Her stories about multiple generations of Americans struggling through life in the West are a ferocious, dazzling panorama of American folly and fate.
"Every ranch...had lost a boy," thinks Dakotah Hicks as she drives through "the hammered red landscape" of Wyoming, "boys smiling, sure in their risks, healthy, tipped out of the current of life by liquor and acceleration, rodeo smashups, bad horses, deep irrigation ditches, high trestles, tractor rollovers and 'unloaded' guns. Her boy, too...The trip along this road was a roll call of grief."
Proulx's characters try to climb out of poverty and desperation but get cut down as if the land itself wanted their blood. Deeply sympathetic to the men and women fighting to survive in this harsh place, Proulx turns their lives into fiction with the power of myth -- and leaves the reader in awe. The winner of two O. Henry Prizes, Annie Proulx has been anthologized in nearly every major collection of great American stories. Her bold, inimitable language, her exhilarating eye for detail and her dark sense of humor make this a profoundly compelling collection.
Annie Proulx is the author of nine books, including the novels The Shipping News and Barkskins, and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award–winning film. Fen, Bog, and Swamp is her second work of nonfiction. She lives in New Hampshire.
"[Fine Just the Way It Is] bears Proulx's brand of hard drama, hard irony, hard weather and hard and soft characters blown about and many times destroyed by the powerful mix..... She writes like a demon." -- Ron Carlson, The New York Times Book Review
"Vivid.... In the tour de force finale ... we see the method in Proulx's genius, where he enchanting description, unparalleled sentence structure, and unwavering insight combine to reveal both the coldest and most resilient recesses of the human heart." -- Pam Houston, O, the Oprah Magazine
"Astonishing.... 'Tits-up in a Ditch' breaks new literary ground with the gut-wrenching tale of an Iraq veteran who returns to her family raw with grief... unforgettable characters." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[Fine Just the Way It Is] takes gigantic steps toward securing Proulx's position as one of the most inventive yet, at the same time, traditional story writers working today." -- Booklist, starred review
"Deliciously macabre stories....A must for fans." -- People, 3 1/2 stars
"[Proulx] shows without mincing words that the present-day West is every bit as inhumane and vengeful as it was way back when... Excellent and original...." -- Kate Christensen, Elle