annie is my new best friend

I began reading The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx this morning on the bus. Only four pages into it, I am entranced by Proulx's elegance with words. Here are the first two paragraphs - the best opening to a book I have read in a long time.

"Here is an account of a few years in the life of Quoyle, born in Brooklyn and raised in a shuffle of dreary upstate towns.
Hive-spangled, gut roaring with gas and cramp, he survived childhood; at the state university, hand clapped over his chin, he camouflaged torment with smiles and silence. Stumbled through his twenties and into his thirties learning to separate his feelings from his life, counting on nothing. He ate prodigiously, liked a ham knuckle, buttered spuds."

I've read some of her short stories before, just a few. I felt the sort of kinship that a Montanan feels for someone who lives in Wyoming. The feeling that they pretty much understand what it's like. And the respect for a woman who can live in such a quiet place and write. Someday I hope to have that much focus and ability to embrace the calm.


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