Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx
Wyoming Stories 2

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 13 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

The stories in Annie Proulx's new collection are peopled by characters who struggle with circumstances beyond their control in a kind of rural noir half-light. Trouble comes at them from unexpected angles, and they will themselves through it, hardheaded and resourceful. Bound by the land and by custom, they inhabit worlds that are often isolated, dangerous, and in Proulx's bold prose, stunningly vivid.
In "What Kind of Furniture Would Jesus Pick?" rancher Gilbert Wolfscale, alienated from his sons, bewildered by his criminal ex-wife, gets shoved down his throat the fact that the old-style ranch life has gone. Several stories concern the eccentric denizens of Elk Tooth, a tiny hamlet where life revolves around three bars. Elk Toothers enter beard-growing contests, scrape together a living hauling hay, catch poachers in unorthodox ways. "Man Crawling out of Trees" is about urban newcomers from the east and their discovery, too late, that one of them has violated the deepest ethics of the place. Above all, these stories are about the compelling lives of rapidly disappearing rural Americans.
Through Proulx's knowledge of the history of Wyoming and the west, her interest in landscape and place, and her sympathy for the sheer will it takes to survive, we see the seared heart of the tough people who live in the emptiest state. Proulx, winner of the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and many other prizes, has written a collection of spectacularly satisfying stories.
 

About Annie Proulx

See more books from this Author
Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent book is Fine Just the Way It Is. She lives in Wyoming.
 
Published November 30, 2004 by Scribner. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bad Dirt

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

the slow, wretched betrayals of the flesh.” Proulx’s genius for grim humor glows in wry tales about a beard-growing competition (“The Contest”), a geological malfunction that gives infernal aid to an overworked game-and-fish warden (“The Hellhole”), an ornery barmaid who deals with cattle illegal...

| Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

In the five years since the publication of her first volume of Wyoming tales, Annie Proulx's writing about the state has noticeably lightened.

Dec 05 2004 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

Or so it seems, at least, in her new collection of stories, ''Bad Dirt,'' a very peculiar successor to her memorable first volume of Wyoming tales, ''Close Range.'' In the five years that have passed since the publication of that solemn, majestically depressing book, the tone of Proulx's writing ...

Dec 05 2004 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx 224pp, Fourth Estate, £12.99 If you're lost down Drunk Road in Whiplash with the Hipsags and the Twilights, or up Poison Spider Road with Stong and Tukey, whose names look as if a letter fell out of them by mistake, chances are you're in Annie Proulx territory.

Jan 01 2005 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2 by Annie Proulx Fourth Estate £12.99, pp256 From an aeroplane, one of the characters in Annie Proulx's new collection of short stories looks down on Wyoming.

Dec 12 2004 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

The wide variety of stories in Bad Dirt also include a peculiar one about a rogue Game and Fish warden forcing scofflaws into Rumplestilskin-ian style descents through a “Hellhole,” and the amusing “The Contest,” a retelling of a beard-growing competition that has a plot hole as large and loopy a...

Nov 30 2005 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

This, Buddy thinks, “is the real Wyoming--full of poor, hardworking transients, tough as nails and restless, going where the dollars grew.” A more metaphorically circuitous route commences when increasing familiarity with some of his new neighbors breeds some real contempt--or rather re-familiar...

Nov 30 2005 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

AV Club

See more reviews from this publication

In Elk Tooth, Wyoming, the favored setting for the quirkier short stories in Annie Proulx's disappointing anthology Bad Dirt, the population is only 80, yet there are three bars in town—Silvertip, the Pee Wee, and Muddy's Hole.

Jan 24 2005 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

Entertainment Weekly

There's not a blade of green grass to be found in the parched Wyoming of Annie Proulx's bitter and bitingly funny new story collection, Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2.

Dec 03 2004 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

USA Today

Following the critical success of Close Range, Wyoming Stories (1999), Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx returns with Bad Dirt, Wyoming Stories 2.At its best, this slim volume draws from the same well with gritty tales of tough-as-nails characters who do the best they can to make ends me...

| Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

Bookmarks Magazine

And I don’t think Proulx’s heart goes out to them, either …" Laurie Maury NY Times Book Review 2 of 5 Stars "… a pungent whiff of desperation hangs over these Elk Tooth stories ….

Jan 17 2008 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

News Review.

They all possess, or are possessed by, the goofy strangeness that comes over people who live and work in an unforgiving land, and their stories combine a downright bleak awareness of the damage that loss can wreak with laugh-out-loud hilarity.

Jun 30 2005 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

California Literary Review

Related articles: Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3 by Annie Proulx Book Review: Maybe This Time by Alois Hotschnig Book Review: Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi Book Review: Odditorium: Stories Book Review: Walks With Men by Ann Beattie

Apr 10 2007 | Read Full Review of Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2

Reader Rating for Bad Dirt
78%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 54 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review