Genre: Adult Fiction
Summary: Two young men who meet in Wyoming in 1963 forge a sudden emotional and sexual attachment, but soon part ways. As their separate lives play out with marriages, children and jobs, they reunite for brief liaisons on camping trips in remote settings over the course of the next 20 years.
My Review: Brokeback Moutain is a short story written by Annie Proulx, a tale that would be brought to the silver screen by director Ang Lee, who would ultimately win an Oscar for his adaptation.
In this 27 page novella, the story is causally brief but powerful enough. What I had to do was remove the intimate knowledge I knew from the film, to allow the book version to retell its story of two cowboys and their long and tragic love affair. Yet amazingly, I found the movie to follow the book almost to a T. What Proulx does well, is present only what is needed.
If you are not familiar with the story, let me recap it. Two young men are employed to herd sheep one season on Brokeback Moutain. Spending a tremendous amount of time with each other, the two engage in a heated sexual affair during this time period. Yet, when it is time for them to return to reality and the daunting task of continuing on their lives, the two go separate ways and start families. Yet, four years later the two reunite only to begin their affair once more. However, times have change significantly in their four years apart, and under the circumstances, Ennis is unwilling to leave his life behind to live openly gay with Jack. They continue to meet each other several times a year during camping trips over the course of twenty years, yet the story is tragic and solemn as we learn the endings of our two characters.
What is heartbreaking about this story is Ennis's fear of being homosexual. Jack on the other hand, clearly understands he is gay and even has other affairs to quell his insatiable desire to be with men. But Ennis has been faithful, in that sense, to Jack. Ironically though it's Ennis that does not see any possible way for these two men to live out their lives together and that decision leads to a tragic ending.
At 27 pages, I still felt the pain. They had shared a relationship over the course of twenty years, putting their time spent on Brokeback Moutain on a pedestal like some fairy tale, only to never be able to find their happily ever after. Beautifully dark.