November 23rd, 2009
Perhaps most famous these days for her short story (adapted into a movie) “Brokeback Mountain,” Annie Proulx has plumbed the depths of the American Great Plains in her collections of Wyoming stories. But before she wrote about the prairie, Proulx set many of her tales in rural New England.
In “Heart Songs and Other Stories,” a collection published in 1995, Proulx explores both the traditions of these backwoods areas and families, and also the myriad ways in which the modern world is intruding and changing traditional ways. In writing about rural areas, a sense of romanticism is often evident, but not here. Proulx’s writing is clear-eyed and unsentimental about the people and places she is describing, while her language manages to be both lyrical and vivid. She is at her strongest when relating the details of the quotidian. The stories, like the people in them, simmer with emotions deep below the surface, but are outwardly reserved and undemonstrative. Standouts include the title story, “Stone City,” and “Negatives.”
Find Heart Songs and Other Stories in our catalog.