One thing you must realize about Annie Proulx-she pulls no punches. Heart Songs and Other Stories is absolutely no exception to the rule.
In this collection of short stories, Proulx give us characters that are not terribly intelligent, sophisticated, attractive, or even likable. But, what they are is real. We’ve all met at least one of the characters in this book, and that’s the magic of Proulx’s writing. She’s not interested in creating a romantic hero; she’s interested in telling real stories about real people … who happen to be fictional. And, like so many of us, they have moments that aren’t exactly shining.
I’ve read quite a bit of Proulx, and this book is one of her earlier efforts. It’s not quite as stylistically refined as her later work, but it is still a magnificent read. The fact she is absolutely so willing to spit in beauty’s face makes her no-nonsense stories and rough and tumble characters all the more beautiful.
If you haven’t read any Proulx yet, you really should.