Wednesday, 6 August 2008


What did you all make of Annie Proulx's new story 'The Sagebrush Kid' in The Guardian mag at the week-end?

After a very factual beginning (snooze) it took off, I thought. It was nicely creepy. I adore the mad names she conjures up (for all I know they are real). There was Mizpah Fur, Dr Frill and Mrs Quirt, to name a few.

Unusual names have a tendency to stick out oddly in many writers' stories but Annie seems adept at making them fit with both the story and the character. Who could ever forget Quoyle and Wavey Prowse from The Shipping News?


Frances said...

I liked the sagebrush story a lot - moral, never feed a plant gravy! But Tessa Hadley's story was dreadful.

Women Rule Writer said...

It was v poignant the way she looked after that tree. And the unfortunate animals.

I haven't read Tessa's yet but the opening of the Julian Barnes one, coupled with its endless dialogue, left me cold, so I didn't proceed.

I tried to read the Ware one, the graphic, but got confused. I'm not a comic fan.

I've started the Boyd and it's good. I'll give my verdict on that, and Tessa's, anon.

Anonymous said...

I left a comment on this last night, but it may have been swallowed?

Loved the Sagebrush story. I'm a big Proulx fan but think there has been a bit of a dip in her recent work, but this is a real return to form. Pity it's not up on the Guardian site, I'd love to send it on to a couple of people.

Definitely try the Barnes' story again, it's very funny. As someone who is awful at writing dialogue, I was in awe of the way he carried it through to the end.


Women Rule Writer said...

Hey Ruby
Your comment didn't appear in my inbox. Maybe the sagebrush ate it.

I love Annie too.

I tried the Barnes again and couldn't get on with it. I loved the Boyd - the set up was good, you just knew it was all going to go wrong but it was nice and wry.

I also enjoyed Tessa's story. She has a way with language that is left of field.