Bird Cloud

Bird Cloud

3.0 19
by Annie Proulx
     
 

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“Bird Cloud” is the name Annie Proulx gave to 640 acres of Wyoming wetlands and prairie and four-hundred-foot cliffs plunging down to the North Platte River. On the day she first visited, a cloud in the shape of a bird hung in the evening sky. Proulx also saw pelicans, bald eagles, golden eagles, great blue herons, ravens, scores of bluebirds, harriers…  See more details below

Overview


“Bird Cloud” is the name Annie Proulx gave to 640 acres of Wyoming wetlands and prairie and four-hundred-foot cliffs plunging down to the North Platte River. On the day she first visited, a cloud in the shape of a bird hung in the evening sky. Proulx also saw pelicans, bald eagles, golden eagles, great blue herons, ravens, scores of bluebirds, harriers, kestrels, elk, deer and a dozen antelope. She fell in love with the land, then owned by the Nature Conservancy, and she knew what she wanted to build on it—a house in harmony with her work, her appetites and her character, a library surrounded by bedrooms and a kitchen.

Proulx’s first work of nonfiction in more than twenty years, Bird Cloud is the story of designing and constructing that house—with its solar panels, Japanese soak tub, concrete floor and elk horn handles on kitchen cabinets. It is also an enthralling natural history and archaeology of the region—inhabited for millennia by Ute, Arapaho and Shoshone Indians— and a family history, going back to nineteenth-century Mississippi riverboat captains and Canadian settlers.

Proulx, a writer with extraordinary powers of observation and compassion, here turns her lens on herself. We understand how she came to be living in a house surrounded by wilderness, with shelves for thousands of books and long worktables on which to heap manuscripts, research materials and maps, and how she came to be one of the great American writers of her time. Bird Cloud is magnificent.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Brokeback Mountain portrays her flawed paradise in the majestic, hardscrabble West in this vibrant memoir. Proulx bought a 640-acre nature preserve by the North Platte River in Wyoming and started building her dream house, a project that took years and went hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget. In her bustling account, Proulx salivates over the prospect of a Japanese soak tub, polished concrete floor, solar panels, and luxe furnishings that often turn into pricey engineering fiascoes. The meticulous master builders she dubs the James Gang are the book's heroes. Though the house never quite lives up to its promise, it does inspire the author's engrossing natural history of the locale. Proulx drives cattle off of the overgrazed terrain; finds stone arrowheads; recounts the lore of the Indians, ranchers, and foppish big-game hunters who contested the land; and documents the antics of the eagles, magpies, mountain lions, and other critters who tolerate her presence. Like her fiction, Proulx's memoir flows from a memorable landscape where "the sagebrush seems nearly black and beaten low by the ceaseless wind"; the result is a fine evocation of place that becomes a meditation on the importance of a home, however harsh and evanescent. (Jan.)
Library Journal
In her first work of nonfiction in over 20 years, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Proulx shares her experiences designing and building a house in rural Wyoming. Tony Award-winning actress Joan Allen's exemplary narration conveys not only Proulx's occasional frustration and aggravation at the endeavor but also her quiet wonder at the surrounding natural world and its calming effects on her. The production is professionally produced, with consistent volume and no background noise, and disc-change announcements occur at natural breaks, making thought repetition unnecessary. This charming memoir, with its vignettes of home-building and ownership woes, is a most appealing nonfiction listen, especially for Proulx fans and anyone interested in natural history. [See Major Audio Releases, LJ 12/10; the Scribner hc was recommended "for all builders of the Western dream," LJ 11/15/10.—Ed.]—Laurie Selwyn, formerly with Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780007231980
Publisher:
Fourth Estate (GB)
Publication date:
02/28/2011
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the 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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
LaBarge, Wyoming
Date of Birth:
August 22, 1935
Place of Birth:
Norwich, Connecticut
Education:
Attended Colby College in the 1950s. B.A., University of Vermont, 1969; M.A., Sir George Williams University, 1973

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