Monday, June 06, 2016

372, 371, 370, 369, 368, 367: First Impressions: Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

Two men find themselves, at the age of twenty, on a ranch. They are alone and herd sheep and long hours of being adrift together. One washes tin cans while the other gazes at skies turning purple with clouds that will bring rain. Their days are slow, yet meaningful.

One night the two men get close. The description of their intimacy is very raw, very matter-of-fact. Also raw is the time they spend apart. Also matter-of-fact is the way these two people cope with the typical turmoil the heart brings.

One logically explains that he isn't strong or lucky enough to buck society. The other, in great anguish, pleads for something more. ("I can't quit you.", he says.) There is a lifetime apart where they can't do much. Then one dies. The other comes back to take his ashes to Brokeback Mountain where they had first met. He doesn't get the ashes from the family. Instead, he finds two shirts that his friend wore as one piece(one on top of the other) throughout his life - to hold on to a moment where they had embraced in front of a fire - in a 'sexless, eternal embrace.' He brings back the shirt and goes on living.

Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain gives us a setting and a story of lives very different from the average person's. It also takes us beyond the details of what one would get caught up on- homosexuality, societal compulsion, etc. etc.

It simply tells us of  the time Jack and Ennis shared on Brokeback they too were people. And that too was love.

(I have liked this book immensely. It makes me want to be a kinder person. Looking to give it away. Anyone in Pune, let me know.)

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