I read the first collection of “Wyoming Stories” a few years back and it’s pretty good. It contains “Brokeback Mountain” which if you haven’t read, you should find a way to do right now, because it’s just so so so good. And it lacks the issues/flaw I think the movie has. But without that story, the collection is just ok. It’s mostly about the originating mythos of a place like Wyoming and beginning to explore its weirdness.
This collection is much stronger and while it doesn’t have a star, it also doesn’t have the uneven balance that a collection of stories with a star does have. This is a nice balanced collection of stories that seems to take on the second generation of stories in a place like Wyoming. This is the generation that was perhaps born there, or moved there late, are squarely in the 20th century, and aging out by its end. There are some eastern interlopers who quickly learn that the relative youth of a state like Wyoming belies how strong the originating roots are for the people whose families go back several generations. There’s a good sense of humor to most of these stories, a starkness and violence to many of them as well, and a kind of false small-town hokeyness that masks how savage Proulx’s writing can be at its best.
I have a pretty solid affection for most of Proulx’s writing and so I sometimes find it hard to rate her work knowing how much I like it in general. So grain of salt and all that.