Postcards by E. Annie Proulx

Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 199, Annie Proulx.

I have completed yet another E. Annie Proulx novel, Postcards.  Over the course of the novel, I began to carry Loyal Blood around with me…fearful for his life choices, the anguish of his life, and curious about the challenges of his work.  During the daytime, I wondered over and over again if he just might at some point include a return address on one of his postcards to his family.  I wondered if he would return home.  This book, like Accordian Crimes, is NOT for the faint hearted.  I ached for the characters in this 1940s Vermont farming family.  ‘Proulx wrote me there.’  I anticipated each postcard from Loyal because each one linked the struggling family with other struggling individuals across 1940s America.  This was yet another tale of misery and the strength of the human will.  It was just a most hostile and ‘tough’ time in the United States, whether that be in a rural or urban community.  The writing was compelling; the imagery, authentic.  I grieve Loyal, his life, even as I type.

Above, I’ve included a link to a very thorough interview with Annie Proulx.  I thought that some of my readers may wish to look at it.  Proulx’s work is not light reading.  It is necessary to plough through her stories.  It is, I think, important that the reader bring their personal views/ knowledge and experiences to the reading.  At times it is a question of whether to be angry at the ‘stupid’ motivations of characters or to feel ’empathetic’…I think both reactions are ok.  Proulx doesn’t seem to hold any expectations.

I am saddened by the loss of the farm.  I am saddened when Jewell sets out in her car into those mountains.  I fear for the miners as time seems to tick in the dark wet chill.  This is another dark story.  Don’t say that I didn’t warn you! I’ve read a number of reviews and David Bradley’s is, by far, the strongest…so make certain that once you’ve spent time with Postcards, you look this one over.



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