Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review: Postcards by E. Annie Proulx

I happen to think Proulx is a great writer. Just read the short story, Brokeback Mountain and you will have to agree. Postcards, Proulx's first novel, is a very rambling story..much like it's main character, Loyal Blood.
This is the story about the Blood family and life on a farm in Vermont. Although, most of the story is played out far from Vermont, the reason for the story is buried quite close to the farm.
Loyal Blood had to run from the family and the farm, when he  killed his lover, a woman named Billy. Billy had asked Loyal over & over to leave Vermont and find a more exciting life elsewhere. He loved his farm and he was the glue that held the farm & the family together. He did not want a different life.
Once Billy was buried in a cave near his family's farm, he took off and never returned. Hmmm....
He travels all over the western part of the country, picking up odd jobs, working in the mines, working with an archeologist and trapping for fur. Along the way he finds a stash of postcards. One by one, he mails the cards home, never leaving a forwarding address. Never staying long enough in one place to let anybody know where he was. The mailing of postcards, by all sorts of people,  plays a big role in this book.
The rest of his family moves on with their lives. They lose the farm, the father, Mink, hangs himself in jail. The one armed brother, nicknamed Dub, moves to Florida and gets rich. The sister, Mernelle, marries a man that she meets through a want ad and lives a perfectly normal life. Until her mother, Jewell, dies in a weird car accident and her beloved husband leaves her a widow.
All the while, Loyal is moving from one town to another for years, sending these postcards back to the family as if nothing had changed on the farm. Oblivious to all that has happened.
Although this book gets a little slow at times, and sometimes I was waiting for the scene where Billy was killed and why (which never really came), I liked it. It was Proulx's first attempt at being a great writer.
She succeeded.

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