Wednesday, September 7

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer purchased this book. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Fourth Estate and is used solely as an aide to the review.

Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist are two ranch hands, working Brokeback Mountain one summer. A friendship develops into something deeper but when summer ends, they part ways.

In a span over twenty years the two men come together, trying to hold onto each other in the midst of their messed up lives.

In the brief moments they share together, can their relationship manage to survive?

I learnt of this book back in '05. I was determined to cease my procrastinating ways and do research for an essay. That blew out the window when an ad for the upcoming film adaptation for 'Brokeback Mountain' caught my eye. I wrote my paper on the morning it was due.

Stubborn to read the book before I saw the film (which I was able to see in cinemas since the rating in the Netherlands was only 12, not 16) I was lucky enough to find a single copy in a store. (Obscure book finds are epic win when you live in a non-English speaking country). At home, I closed myself in my room and finished it in one sitting.

Now, I have done the same.

'Brokeback Mountain' gets you in the gut and stays with you for a time far longer than it took you to read the thing.

The characters are so real that it seems to me that they must exist out there in some form, from some time. The imagery is stunning, not in a sense that it's flowery or anything but ripe and gritty in a way that pulls you in and shows you that the world's no lullaby.

'Brokeback Mountain' is a novella but even though it spans two decades, its short length really captures the brevity of the time that Ennis and Jack had together during that period.

The relationship that the two men share is a tough one, hurdled by fear and circumstance. In the end, it is Jack who has my heart. Even though I can empathise with Ennis, I feel that he made his own situation and it was his own reluctance and mistakes he had to blame.

'Brokeback Mountain' is a powerful read that I would recommend to anyone who wants a story that will forever imprint itself in your mind and your heart.

1 comment:

ivona poyntz said...

spot on review. And, perhaps a point to note, the book 'allows', or rather embraces, heterosexual readers to identify with the plight and tumultuous inner world of the characters, making it a universal read.