Title: CLOSE RANGE: WYOMING STORIES (INCLUDES "...
Publisher: New York City, NY: Scribner's, 1999
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. Signed. 283 pages. Published in 1999. The author's second collection of short stories. One of the greatest short story collections of our time. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only that sold out shortly after publication. The First Edition is now scarce. A brilliant production by William Matthews: Regular-sized volume format. Black hard boards with green cloth spine and metallic-silver titles embossed on spine, as issued. Stories by Annie Proulx. Interspersed with six watercolor reproductions by William Matthews, the finest living artist in the Western genre. Printed on thick archival stock paper (for the text) and coated stock paper (for the art) in the United States to the highest standards. In pictorial DJ with black titles on the cover and spine, as issued. Presents Annie Proulx's "Close Range". Eleven stories, two of which are now regarded as masterpieces written at the close of the 20th century: "The Half-Skinned Steer" was selected as one of "The Best American Short Stories of the 20th Century" by John Updike. "Brokeback Mountain" was issued in the United Kingdom by itself, remains one of Proulx's most controversial and most beautiful stories (it is about the passionate romance between two cowboys), and is the basis of the great film by Ang Lee, with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. "Annie Proulx demonstrates what makes her great: Images sharp as paper cuts conveyed in language so imaginative and compressed, a sense of character so specific it takes only a sentence to establish a whole life and the underlying promise of something utterly unexpected up ahead". An absolute "must-have" title for Annie Proulx collectors. This copy is very prominently, neatly, and beautifully signed in black pen on the title page by Annie Proulx. Proulx signed on top of the page, making it that much more prominent (especially considering how tiny her signature is). It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page, as many copies available online are. This title is a great book. This is one of very few such signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: Annie Proulx's signature is TINY. Many copies available online have major flaws. Because of "Brokeback Mountain", this title has become one of Annie Proulx's most collectible titles: A signed and inscribed copy fetched $3000 at auction in 2005, an incredible sum by any measure. A rare signed copy thus. Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1993 for "Postcards". Winner of the National Book Award in 1993 and the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for "The Shipping News". One of the finest writers of our time. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER ANNIE PROULX TITLES IN OUR CATALOG) ISBN 0684852217. Bookseller Inventory # 13291
Synopsis: 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.
Review: With the very first sentence of the first story in this remarkable collection, Annie Proulx demonstrates what makes her great: images sharp as paper cuts conveyed in language so imaginative and compressed it's just this side of poetry; a sense of character so specific it takes only a sentence to establish a whole life; and the underlying promise of something utterly unexpected waiting just up ahead.
In the long unfurling of his life, from tight-wound kid hustler in a wool suit riding the train out of Cheyenne to geriatric limper in this spooled-out year, Mero had kicked down thoughts of the place where he began, a so-called ranch on strange ground at the south hinge of the Big Horns."The Half-Skinned Steer" chronicles elderly Mero Corn's journey back to Wyoming for his brother's funeral. As he drives west, details of his eventful trip are interspersed with recollections of his youth on the ranch--most notably a tall tale he heard told long ago about a sad-sack rancher named Tin Head and a butchered steer. This is vintage Proulx, a combination of isolated landscapes, macabre events, and damaged people that adds up, in the end, to a near-perfect story. It's no surprise that "The Half-Skinned Steer" made it into John Updike's Best American Short Stories of the Century.
Proulx achieves similar results with many of the other stories in Close Range, including another prizewinner, "Brokeback Mountain," the bittersweet story of doomed love between two cowboys who "can't hardly be decent together," yet know "if we do that in the wrong place we'll be dead." But Proulx is careful to add some leavening to the mix. In "The Blood Bay" she indulges her taste for the gruesome with a morbidly amusing retelling of an Old West shaggy-dog story, while "Pair a Spurs" is the sad-funny rendering of divorce, Wyoming style. The author is a true original in every sense of the word, and her evocation of the West is as singular and surprising as that of Cormac McCarthy or Ivan Doig. Close Range is Proulx at her best. --Alix Wilber
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