By Annie Proulx
Scribner Book Company, Paperback, 9780743271325, 55pp.
Publication Date: December 2, 2005
Annie Proulx has written some of the most original and brilliant short stories in contemporary literature, and for many readers and reviewers, "Brokeback Mountain" is her masterpiece.
Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands, come together when they're working as sheepherder and camp tender one summer on a range above the tree line. At first, sharing an isolated tent, the attraction is casual, inevitable, but something deeper catches them that summer.
Both men work hard, marry, and have kids because that's what cowboys do. But over the course of many years and frequent separations this relationship becomes the most important thing in their lives, and they do anything they can to preserve it.
The New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for Fiction for its publication of "Brokeback Mountain," and the story was included in Prize Stories 1998: The O. Henry Awards. In gorgeous and haunting prose, Proulx limns the difficult, dangerous affair between two cowboys that survives everything but the world's violent intolerance.
"Proulx's understanding is at its most remarkable in the astonishing 'Brokeback Mountain.' [She] knows what she could only know...by the infrared that allows a very few writers clear sight in the dark of the imagination."
-- Richard Eder, The New York Times Book Review
"'Brokeback Mountain' does some of the best things a story can do. It abolishes the old West clichés, excavates and honors a certain kind of elusive life, then nearly levels you with the emotional weight at its center."
-- Gail Caldwell, The Boston Sunday Globe
"A stand-out story...'Brokeback Mountain' is the sad chronology of a love affair between two men who can't afford to call it that. They know what they're not -- not queer, not gay -- but have no idea what they are."
-- Walter Kirn, New York