Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly 32:1 (Winter 2012).
Annie Proulx's latest is nonfiction, recounting her attempt to inhabit a section of land in south-central Wyoming. While tough winters and unmaintained roads make year-round residence too difficult, Proulx glories in the wild isolation of a place that inspires her to research and write as well as to build fence and monitor eagles. Bird Cloud is a book that Proulx's regulars will find both enjoyable and revealing; however, its self-indulgence and lack of polish leave us with a feeling akin to Proulx's own house high in the mountain valley-it remains raw and isolated.
This is not entirely a negative. Proulx's 2002 Southern Plains classic That Old Ace in the Hole is a wonderful book due to its structural imperfection, its sense of something fastened together out of historical research and fictional narrative, excess material pounding in the wind.