Close Range: Wyoming Stories

Annie Proulx


Why Close Range: Wyoming Stories and The Grand Teton

I have such an appreciation for short stories. I think it takes so much discipline to define a character and render a story in such limited time as opposed to the luxury of a longer novel. Annie Proulx is one of the best short story writers of all-time. She has numerous literary awards for her writing, but reading any of her collections is all the proof needed of her mastery of the short form.

I also like to read short stories from time to time because it’s a different type of reading that requires a greater discipline of the reader. You fall in love with a character or a story and then before you know it the end has come and you have to start over with new people and plots. It’s good training for real life.

The Close Range collection is set in Wyoming and was the obvious choice for me to pair with a mountain also in Wyoming. I’m so glad I had such a obvious connection to this collection, because it contains one of my favorite short stories of all time, Brokeback Mountain. No matter what your personal beliefs are, this is a touching story of love, heartbreak, and the pain we endure when we can’t be who we truly are. The 2005 movie was a beautiful adaption co-written by Texas author Larry McMurtry (Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, Lonesome Dove). Wyoming is also the state of the Matthew Shepard tragedy and as I passed through Laramie to get to the Tetons, I was reminded how important it is for each of us to keep striving for love and acceptance.

More About Close Range: Wyoming Stories

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author of The Shipping News and Accordion Crimes comes one of the most celebrated short story collections of our time. Annie Proulx’s masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in these breathtaking tales of loneliness, quick violence, and the wrong kinds of love. Each of the stunning portraits in Close Range reveals characters fiercely wrought with precision and grace. These are stories of desperation and unlikely elation, set in a landscape both stark and magnificent — by an author writing at the peak of her craft.

Proulx’s second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was adapted as a 2001 film of the same name. Her short story “Brokeback Mountain” was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture released in 2005. She won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her first novel, Postcards. She has twice won the O. Henry Prize for the year’s best short story

Brokeback Mountain“Brokeback Mountain” was originally published in The New Yorker on October 13, 1997. The New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for Fiction for its publication of “Brokeback Mountain” in 1998. Proulx won an O. Henry Award prize (third place) for her story in 1998. The story was published in a slightly expanded version in Proulx’s 1999 collection of short stories, Close Range: Wyoming Stories. This collection was named a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The story of Brokeback Mountain is set in 1963. Two young men, Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, are hired for the summer to look after sheep at a seasonal grazing range on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming. Unexpectedly, they form an intense emotional and sexual attachment, but have to part ways at the end of the summer. Over the next twenty years, as their separate lives play out with marriages, children, and jobs, they continue reuniting for brief liaisons on camping trips in remote settings.

Screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana adapted the story for a film of the same name, released in 2005. The film Brokeback Mountain (2005) won numerous awards, including Academy Awards (for 2005) for Best Adapted Screenplay (McMurtry and Ossana), Best Director (Ang Lee), and Best Original Score (Gustavo Santaolalla). It was nominated for a total of eight awards (the most that year), including Best Picture, Best Actor (Heath Ledger as Ennis), and Best Supporting Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack). Its loss of Best Picture to Crash was not generally expected, though predicted by some.