For fans of contemporary short stories, Annie Proulx is a respected writer. The reading public knows her, if it knows her at all, as the author of "Brokeback Mountain," the so-called "gay cowboy" story that became a prize-winning movie.
We never got a chance to read "Brokeback Mountain," but we can recommend Proulx's latest story, "Tits-Up in a Ditch," which was published last month in the Summer Fiction Issue of The New Yorker, dated June 9 & 16, 2008.
Yes, the title is salacious, but the story is more troubling than titillating. More importantly, Proulx packs a novel's worth of plot and character into a few thousand words about life on the lower rungs of the social and economic ladder in present-day Wyoming.
Proulx's main character is Dakotah, a hard-luck young woman raised by her grandparents. Dakotah drifts through her life, dropping out of high school months before graduation, marrying poorly, eventually following her husband into the army.
Short story readers should check out "Tits-Up" and other Proulx offerings in her collections, including a new one due out this fall, Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3.