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New Yorker Fiction Review #139: "A Resolute Man" by Anne Proulx

Issue: March 21, 2016

Story: "A Resolute Man" by Annie Proulx

Rating: $

Review: I can't recall ever having read anything by Annie Proulx and I can't say that I'm possessed of a particularly strong desire to do so after reading this story. Although it did pick up at the end, the dialogue was a little wooden and it took far too long to get to the good stuff, which I find is generally the problem with fiction (or at least my problem with most fiction) even the short stuff, which is about all I can deal with these days.

Maybe the problem is that it's part of her upcoming novel Barkskins and not a "story" in and of itself. Or maybe it is a story in and of itself, and it still is kind of boring for the first half. Anyway, only when the main character, James Duke, finally marries a sex-crazed local woman with a crass, backwoodsman father does the story really take off. And then, it actually is pretty interesting, as we watch the civilized former Navy Captain Duke realize he has made a terrible mistake and come to grips with it.

I foresee myself one day picking up Barkskins in the bookstore, reading a few lines of it, strongly debating buying it, and then not. Perhaps one day when it shows up for $2.00 in the Clearance section of Half Price Books will I buy it, and then finally not read it.

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