Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Them Old Cowboy Songs - Travails of a Homesteading Couple" (May 5, 2008, in The New Yorker)

Just a few days ago I read, in the archives of The New Yorker,  my first work by Annie Proulx, "Tits Up in a Ditch".   I ( liked this story and was gratified to find two more short stories by Proulx within the temporarily open archives of The New Yorker.  

Set in Wyoming, in the western USA in 1885, "Them Old Cowboy Songs" is a very powerful story about the attempt of a young couple, the husband is seventeen and the wife younger, to make a life for themselves in a very hard time and place.  Archie inherited $100.00 and he used it to buy eighty acres. He built a cabin for he and his wife to abide within.  We see their terrible hardships.  I liked it when I saw they had and cherished a cat named "Goldie".  We see their fear of Indians, the harsh winters and meet their neighbors.  Rose gets pregnant.  Archie imagines a son helping him on the farm.  The richest most powerful people were the owners of big cattle ranches.  Archie hears you can make good money working on a big ranch near him.  He learns the owner will not hire married men for far they will sneak away to see their families.  He lies and gets a job there.  

I will leave the rest of the story untold.  It is a very moving work.

You can read this story here

I have links to three more of her short stories and hope to read them soon. 

Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News 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. Her most recent book is Fine Just the Way It Is. She lives in Wyoming. - from publisher web page
Please share your experience with Proulx with us

Mel u

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The incomparable Annie Proul! No one evokes modern-day Americana as well as Annie Proulx as she runs the gamut, pulling at our heartstrings, with horrifying accounts of stark malevolence, squalid wasted lives, stunning reversals, disastrous calamities, torrid lustful vengeance, scrimping and scrabbling at the earth to scratch a living from the mud and the blood. Amidst dusty floor of barroom, vast expanse of empty prairie, bucking bull and bronco. No one comes close to her monumental body of work. Wrathful old scoundrels, knocked-up farmgirls and knocked-about cowpokes, raging elderly Indian, broken-down squaw, pistol-packin' mamma, hard drinkin' and hard drivin' farmer, rancher and sheepherder, hunter and trapper, gambler and rustler, hustler and bustler, wretched ragamuffin, tattooed unwed teen mother with an infant hanging onto her side, one at the teat and another crawlin' out the door onto the bare earth of their rock-scrabble trailer parking lot. There's no one - ever - has made the REAL
American story come to life so vividly, shocking and stunning as has Annie. Her descriptions of people and places and things -especially sometimes - 'things' - the landscapes, the full palate of the outdoors, the scorching heat, the screaming snowstorms!