Posts Categorized: Campbell Scott

Banned Books Week – Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

September 27, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

Banned Books Week – Brokeback Mountain by Annie ProulxBrokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Narrator: Campbell Scott
Published by Scribner on October 13, 1997
Length: 1 hour and 4 minutes
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQIA, Romance, Western
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-stars

Annie Proulx has written some of the most original and brilliant short stories in contemporary literature, and for many readers and reviewers, "Brokeback Mountain" is her masterpiece.

Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands, come together when they're working as sheepherder and camp tender one summer on a range above the tree line. At first, sharing an isolated tent, the attraction is casual, inevitable, but something deeper catches them that summer.

Both men work hard, marry, and have kids because that's what cowboys do. But over the course of many years and frequent separations this relationship becomes the most important thing in their lives, and they do anything they can to preserve it.

The New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for Fiction for its publication of "Brokeback Mountain," and the story was included in Prize Stories 1998: The O. Henry Awards. In gorgeous and haunting prose, Proulx limns the difficult, dangerous affair between two cowboys that survives everything but the world's violent intolerance.

‘There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it.’

 Brokeback Mountain is the well-known story, written by Annie Proulx, about two Wyoming ranch hands that fall in love one summer in 1963. The two inevitably separate and continue on with their lives, both marrying and starting their own families. Their affair continues though for the next twenty years and is a constant source of both anguish and bliss for both parties.

This story is a short one, just 64 pages, but Proulx’s writing manages to still fully express the tenacity of Ennis and Jack’s bond with one another. While that tenacity was fully expressed, I did still wish for more of an in-depth look at the two of them by the final page. Their ending came much too soon. I had never seen the movie before, only knowing it as the movie about the gay cowboys. Admittedly, sure, it is about two gay cowboys but setting aside that unnecessary description, what this story truly is at heart is a story about passion and longing. It’s about finding that one person that you can’t get enough of. That one person that without them, your life is missing a vital piece of the puzzle. It’s a touching and heartbreaking story that will leave you wishing for even half of that type of passion in your life.

In 2005, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas returned a 3 million dollar donation rather than submit to that donor’s request that Brokeback Mountain be removed from the list of optional reading for twelfth graders.

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Audiobook Review – Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy #1) by Margaret Atwood

May 24, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 1 Comment

Audiobook Review – Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy #1) by Margaret AtwoodOryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Narrator: Campbell Scott
Series: MaddAddam Trilogy #1
Published by Random House Audio on May 6th 2003
Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
Genres: Canada, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Year of the Flood, MaddAddam, The Handmaid's Tale

four-half-stars

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.

I am astounded at how fascinating this was.

The story opens with Snowman, a hermit of sorts, struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic society that has experienced an originally unknown catastrophic event. Snowman is seemingly the last human left on earth, with only the Craker’s to keep him company but they are far from being close to human.

We’re treated to flashbacks to Snowman’s childhood, back when he was known as Jimmy, back before the entire Earth was changed. His parents were scientists that dealt in genetic manipulation and were in charge of creating pigoons, pigs which were engineered solely to grow human organs for transplants. We’re also introduced to Crake, a childhood friend of Jimmy’s who goes on to become a brilliant geneticist and the creator of the pill and the project behind the Craker’s.

‘They were inextricably linked—the Pill and the Project. The Pill would put a stop to haphazard reproduction, the Project would replace it with a superior method. They were two stages of a single plan, you might say.’

Oryx and Crake is much more philosophical than I had anticipated. This is a story of altering the human design to create the perfect creature. Crake intended on playing ‘God’ in order to design the perfect human being that would not continue to destroy the Earth and while it’s easy to call his actions wrong, it could also be construed as genius. The Craker’s are peaceful creatures that are physically perfect and lack any sort of violent thoughts or sexual drives and treat the Earth with far more care than any human ever did. The question remains: even if we have the power to alter life itself, do we have the right to do it? Even if it benefits the Earth and possibly saves it for future generations? But what purpose is that if all humanity is killed off for created creatures to continue living so as to repopulate the Earth? Oryx and Crake definitely raises some interesting questions.

I loved the brief glimpses into the past. We’re already given a glimpse of the world as it is “now”: Snowman is the only human remaining, he’s practically starving to death and the Earth has been ransacked. What was the catalyst that caused this change? How long has Snowman been forced to live like this? Slowly we’re given answers and paints a shocking picture. Margaret Atwood is an amazingly inventive writer and has created a world that is both inconceivable and convincing.

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