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Bird Cloud

A Memoir

Proulx, Annie

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Bird Cloud
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"Bird Cloud" is the name the author gave to 640 acres of Wyoming wetlands and prairie and four hundred foot cliffs plunging down to the North Platte River. On the day she first visited, a cloud in the shape of a bird hung in the evening sky. She also saw pelicans, bald eagles, golden eagles, great blue herons, ravens, scores of bluebirds, harriers, kestrels, elk, deer and a dozen antelope. She fell in love with the land, then owned by the Nature Conservancy, and she knew what she wanted to build on it, a house in harmony with her work, her appetites and her character, a library surrounded by bedrooms and a kitchen. Her first work of nonfiction in more than twenty years, this book is the story of designing and constructing that house, with its solar panels, Japanese soak tub, concrete floor and elk horn handles on kitchen cabinets. It is also an enthralling natural history and archaeology of the region, inhabited for millennia by Ute, Arapaho and Shoshone Indians, and a family history, going back to nineteenth century Mississippi riverboat captains and Canadian settlers. The author here turns her lens on herself. We understand how she came to be living in a house surrounded by wilderness, with shelves for thousands of books and long worktables on which to heap manuscripts, research materials and maps, and how she came to be one of the great American writers of her time.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2011.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9780743288804
0743288807
Characteristics: xiii, 234 pages :,illustrations, map ;,25 cm

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Dec 05, 2014
  • DorisWaggoner rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The author of "The Shipping News" writes a memoir about how not to build a dream home in rural WY. She fell in love with the setting, on national land that severely restricted what she could do. She admits she should have checked lots of things ahead of time when she fell in love with the land. Because she wanted to, she blithely believed the Realtor's claim that of course the county would plow the road in the winter. Not. This meant, first, that construction couldn't be done once the first heavy snow started, and second, that once the house was built, she couldn't use it after the first heavy snow. She also hadn't checked what the wind would do, scouring down the cliffs that she loved so much. Certain plants she wanted in particular places wouldn't grow, etc, etc. Cattle had to be rescued from an island in the river. But she loved the setting, and the house. She became extremely attached to members of her building crew, and they would knock off work to go camping together. A fascinating, irritating book. Sometimes I wanted to shake her for having no common sense. At other times, I wanted to climb the cliff with her, on the hunt for the eagle's nests.

Mar 09, 2012
  • rlbecker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a splendid book about living with nature in Wyoming. We learn about the author's joys and problems dealing with building a house in the middle of nowhere. We meet a motley crew of people who are helping with the many aspects of the construction. After it is finished, and during construction, we meet the many critters who live in the vicinity, including eagles, mountain lions, elk, and cows. Highly recommended.

really enjoyed this nonfiction book about Annie Proulx's life in Wyoming and her ordeal in building a house. She provides alot of information about the environment and history of the area as well. Very impressive.

May 02, 2011
  • Bluegrassgirl rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A true disappoinment. Perhaps written with her editors help to raise more money she needed to sink into the mistake. Rather than an "Under the Tuscan Sun" style memoir - this is the money pit "exposed to the ceaseless Wyoming wind."

May 01, 2011
  • Jennmro rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I had anticipated liking this book a lot more than I actually did. It had all the elements of a book that I typically enjoy, and I love Annie Proulx, but this book fell flat for me. I couldn't get interested in her family history and the detailed description of her childhood had me skimming some of the pages. Overall, not my favorite Annie Proulx book.

Proulx builds her dream home in the Wyoming wilderness. "An unintentional lesson in how not to move from the urban east to the rural west."

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