Annie Proulx' Bird Cloud
The Clue to Proulx:
I haven't read enough Annie Proulx. That Old Ace In the Hole at book club. The Shipping News is still waiting. Fearfully, perhaps, having loved the movie. And hesitating, perhaps, because, how could an American write such a Canadian novel? Now I know that she lived there, and cares about the place and the people. Well, I should have already divined that, knowing as I did that she had insisted, with the sale of movie rights, that it had to be set and filmed in situ.
In situ, in place. I think that's the clue to Proulx. She loves "place," and places, and even though her stories all have plots and characters and themes, it is often setting which dominates. Like the setting of Bird Cloud, the monster house she built overlooking a rock bluff along a river in Wyoming.
Reading Bird Cloud reminds me again how much I love creative non-fiction (as we call it here in Canada, hyphen included). CN-F assumes that we readers are intelligent sensitive people interested in many things. That we do not need or expect to be manipulated by plot twists or emotional traumas, or outdated rules determining what may be included and what will not make the editorial cut. That nature and the simple passage of time, carefully observed by another fully sentient human being will interest us. That we will all find something or things with which to connect. Because we too love the details - how to (or how not to) envision, design, and supervise the construction of a dream house. The details of the flora and fauna, the geology, archaeology, history, the politics of the past as they infringe / impinge upon today.
After all, what is a love of "place" but a love of this Earth and all she nurtures? All my relations.