Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx

If you've only seen the movie, it's time you read the story that inspired it.

"Brokeback Mountain" was published in The New Yorker, in 1997, before it appeared in Annie Proulx's collection Close Range: Wyoming Stories, in 1999.

Proulx is one of my favorite authors because she always gets it right. The scene. The characters. The dialogue. She's unflinchingly honest with it all, which is, of course, why this story is so powerful.

Here's the link to The New Yorker. If you have a subscription you can read "Brokeback Mountain" in the archives:


Otherwise, here's the full (if pilfered) text, printed out on the blog of a (self-described) gender neutral college student named Lex or Squash :


And here is a clip of Proulx answering the question everyone asks of writers, "Where did you get the idea?" It's good stuff!


Of course, what sort of a post would this be if it didn't contain a clip of Heath Ledger. This is one of my favorite scenes from the movie because it contains both the root of Ennis' terror and the crucial line, "...if you can't fix it you've got to stand it." (The clip opens a bit wonky, be patient.)


Annie Proulx

See what I mean about Proulx always getting it right?


  1. This is easily my favorite short story of all time. I used it in my graduate lecture and continue to use it in my undergrad short story course when my students and I talk about character thought. The where and when she uses interiority and the "slow down where it hurts" moments is masterful.

  2. When I read it, I can't help but think of the water skimming I once heard you say that short stories do. There's so much beneath the words. So much hard living. I don't remember the flashback, when Jack discovers his own circumcision, from previous readings--it's so powerful! And telling.