Annie Proulx knows how to describe the problems that homosexuals encountered in the 60’s in a striking manner. It is confronting to read how gay’s suffered at that time, especially since the emancipation of homosexuals has advanced quite a lot.
This book tells the story about Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar, two men working as ranch hands in the wild. As they spend time with each other, they start to develop gay feelings for each other. They both cope with their homosexuality in their own ways in a community where it wasn’t excepted. The bond that they develop contrasts and is deeply rejected by the folk culture.
After publishing ‘The Shipping News’ and ‘Accordion Crimes’, ‘Brokeback Mountain’ followed.
Annie Proulx is known for writing stories about the rough life on the countryside in Wyoming, and her books are characterized by a compact but also extremely expressive and often comical style of writing. ‘Brokeback Mountain’ is a perfect example of her style.
“Tell you what, we coulda had a good life together! Fuckin’ real good life! Had us a place of our own. But you didn’t want it, Ennis! So what we got now is Brokeback fuckin’ Mountain!” Brokeback Mountain and other stories pag. 303
The structure of this book is made up by several stories which are each treated in a separate chapter, all taking place in the countryside. Each story builds up towards the final chapter: Brokeback mountain. This structure defines the book ; it clearly displays the culture and the tone of the countryside as in the 60s. Because of the preceding stories the contrast between their gay romance and the folk culture which dominated in that time becomes quite clear. As a result, the concluding chapters make a greater impact on you as a reader.
However, this structure is also a downside to the book. Due to the way it’s arranged, the stories don’t seem to have anything to do with each other in the first place neither do they connect to the back flap description on the book. This could easily become confusing for the reader and could lead to disinterest, increasing the likely hood of putting down the book all together.
Annie’s style of writing is very enjoyable to read. She alternates long philosophical sentences with short light ones. She uses a lot of creative metaphors which give broad and detailed pictures of the countryside. Annie knows how to provide a clear image of the characters, without imposing them. The dialogues are written in a dialect that enhance the feeling of the countryside, but also provide variety in reading. The alternation between the parts in which she deeply addresses and describes details and the parts in which she tells the bigger picture makes the book a good read.
‘They climbed through the stony landscape, limestone beds eroded by wind into fantastic furniture, stale gnawed breadcrusts, tumbled bones,stacks of dirty folded blankets, bleached crab claws and dog teeth.’ Brokeback Mountain and other stories pag. 26
This simple story is very intriguing to read and makes you think about love, and the meaning of it. Being gay or straight, you can’t change the way you are so it’s up to you to change the way you perceive it. Homosexuality will always exist, just like love in its pure form.
After the success of this book, an award winning movie has been produced in 2005. I strongly recommend it, it was a joy to watch.