Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Everyone keeps telling me what a fantastic movie Brokeback Mountain is, and since busyness precludes us from seeing it anytime soon, I was content to pick up the book the other day, fascinated by its brevity, unfamiliar with the work of Annie Proulx. There is a poet’s sensibility for compression here as she fits 20 years of relationship into 50-odd pages, plus a few childhood flashbacks. And her prose style is so gloriously subtle as to not insult the reader’s intelligence as so much popular fiction seems eager to do. What interested me most was the dialogue- how deftly she fills in the characters of Ennis and Jack and the culture that surrounds and holds them in with such a fluency of dialect, humor and things left unsaid. Namely it’s the things unsaid, the octane of any early stage romance, but here anted up by a double dose of masculine reserve. I hope that in extending this bit of igneous prose the film doesn’t walk out every particulate into the temporal zoom of obvious.

I make no claim to stand behind any hotheaded notion fired off on these pages- migrant fancies all- but on this I will swear: I will not see the penguin movie. The very commercials for it, and spin-off car ads, so slay me with cuteness that an hour and half of the helpless, plodding cuties would surely be torment.


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