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Bad Dirt

Bad Dirt

Wyoming Stories 2

  • reading group guide
Annie Proulx's new collection is peopled by characters who struggle with circumstances beyond their control. Born to ranching, drawn to it, or desperate to get out, they inhabit worlds that are isolated and often dangerous. Trouble comes at them from unexpected angles, and they drive themselves through it, hardheaded and resourceful. No one writes better than Proulx about the American west and about lives that may no longer be viable. This is a stunning collection by one of the most vivid and exhilarating writers of our time.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743260145 | 
  • October 2005
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Reading Group Guide

Bad Dirt
Wyoming Stories 2

Annie Proulx
Introduction
In Elk Tooth everyone tries to be a character and with some success.
Annie Proulx's second collection of Wyoming Stories shares the backbreaking, heartbreaking, and, sometimes, gut-busting stories of the rapidly disappearing rural Americans in Bad Dirt:
"The Indian Wars Refought" follows a young Native American woman's discovery of a long lost Buffalo Bill film, found in a building owned by her white stepmother. Gilbert Wolfscale fights to hold onto the ranch that has been in his family for generations and, as a result, alienates his wife and sons in "What Kind of Furniture Would Jesus Pick?" And in "Man Crawling Out of the Trees," an isolated couple from New York breaks "the cardinal rule of the country-that you give aid and help to a stranger, even your bitterest enemy when he is down."
Ever resourceful, Elk Tooth residents create their own entertainment. A beard-growing competition grows out of boredom during the bitter winter months in "The Contest"; "Summer of the Hot Tubs" chronicles the town's passing passion for building their own outdoor tubs and Willy Huson's creative attempt to heat things up; and "The Trickle Down Effect" is personified by trucker Deb Sipple-"most of what little money he made with occasional hauling funneled straight into Elk Tooth's three bars."
Nature takes its course when Amanda Gribb, Pee Wee's bartender and secre see more

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About the Author

Annie Proulx
Gus Powell

Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection CloseRange. 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.

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