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
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. Download and start listening now!