Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Author: Annie Proulx
Reader: Campbell Scott
Short Review: A ground-breaking story about the nature of love and sexuality, beautifully-read by one of my favorite audio book narrators.
Long Review: I’m guessing the plot of this story is no surprise to most. The film was a major success, of course, and the center of a great deal of controversy. But I hate that the jokes and the brouhaha tends to over-shadow the story itself.
Because the story is beautiful, and heartbreaking, and feels so very true. Annie Proulx describes landscapes and the particular culture of a time and a place like no one else. She also captures the emotions of reticent characters well, which is particularly important for these men in this period and place.
Annie Proulx’s short story garnered an O. Henry Award, helped Proulx make the Pulitzer short-list, and helped The New Yorker win the National Magazine Award for Fiction. Recording it as an audio book must have been an intimidating task. Thankfully, Campbell Scott was brought on board. The narrator of this audio book needs to be able to voice two conflicted, macho guys trying to fight stereotypes and realities of homosexuality in a sere landscape. Scott’s baritone is just right for the job, particularly when matched with his restraint, and his tendency to flatten his voice in moments of tension. His is the voice I will hear whenever I reread the story on paper.
This is one of the best audio books I’ve listened to, and I know I’ll listen to it again.