A highly acclaimed collection of short stories set in the great outdoors of New England, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘The Shipping News’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’.Just outside town, beyond the drugstore and the diner, there's another world – a wilderness – waiting to be explored. On the high, wooded hillsides there are deer to be stalked; far upriver there are quiet pools of trout, and grouse to be shot and traplines to be laid for fur. In the far-flung settlements of New England, life revolves around hunting.Whether they are yuppies from the town who think that country life is improving or natives who know all too well that it isn't, the men and women of these stories are all hunting for something better – though getting by at all is hard enough. These are men and women who live, love and lose; men and women who fall apart and who pick up the pieces, who dream useless dreams and go on dreaming whatever the disappointments.Tough and tender and irresistibly humorous, this unforgettable book takes its reader on a trail through the great outdoors to the innermost places of the heart.
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This Fourth Estate edition published 2009
First published in Great Britain by Fourth Estate in 1995.
Published in paperback in 1996.
Copyright © Dead Line Ltd 1994
A collection of stories, including many from this collection, was published under the title Heart Songs and Other Stories in the United States of America in 1988 in hardback by Charles Scribner’s Sons.
The following stories appeared in a somewhat different form in Gray’s Sporting Journal, “Stone City” copyright © 1979, “The Unclouded Day” copyright © 1985; Esquire, “The Wer-Trout” copyright © 1982, “Heart Songs” copyright © 1986; Harrowsmith, “On the Antler” copyright © 1983; Ploughshares, “A Run of Bad Luck” copyright © 1987.
The author gratefully acknowledges permission to reprint excerpts from: The Golden Casket by Wolfgang Bauer, English translation copyright © 1964 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., reprinted by permission of the publisher; and from Love and Protest, edited and translated by John Scott, copyright © 1974 by André Deutsch Ltd, reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Annie Proulx asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
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Source ISBN: 9781857023480
Ebook Edition © JANUARY 2013 ISBN 9780007498314
‘The style of Heart Songs is a long-rhythmed, almost majestic prose that can create images of perfect newness and accuracy … a polished, unflinching work’
‘Proulx’s descriptive power is such that when you’re not laughing or cringing, you’re gasping with envy’
Independent on Sunday
‘America’s most impressive new novelist … matchlessly capturing the rewards and rigours of life in the rural remoteness of America’s far north east, the stories in Heart Songs focus on characters almost elementally close to harsh landscapes and hard ways of life. Tough knowledgeableness about their circumstances goes along with a style that is elatingly fresh and crisp with sensuous delicacy’
‘The writing bristles with laconic insights’
‘Proulx’s prose is monumental’
‘Proulx does not romanticise her characters, but with the quiet wisdom that informs her novels, encourages us to understand them’
‘The precision of her observation has a large value that implies an entire culture’
‘Proulx’s feeling for the texture of place and characters is impeccable’
Scotland on Sunday
‘These are wilderness narratives, told with sinewy grace and humour’
‘Proulx is at home in natural surroundings; her gift for description is both taut and unlavish and she shows the true countryman’s respect for hunter and hunted alike. Her people are alive; the domestic detail as sharply defined as in a Dutch genre painting’
‘These are magnificent wrenching pieces’
‘Heart Songs should be bought immediately’
‘Proulx peels back the raw emotions of the lost and alone. Most authors would joyously discard a limb or two in exchange for a droplet of Proulx’s lyrical and dense poetry, while the reader can only sit back and lap it up’