Bookshelf: That Old Ace In The Hole (Annie Proulx)

Monday, April 23rd, 2007 @ 9:47 | printed words

I got Annie Proulx’s That Old Ace In The Hole (2002) for Christmas from my parents. I didn’t know what to expect, since the author’s name didn’t ring a bell. Proulx won a Pulitzer for her novel The Shipping News, filmed by Lasse Hallström in 2001. I haven’t seen the movie. I have seen Ang Lee’s 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain, though, which is based on Proulx’s short story in a 2000 collection titled Close Range: Wyoming Stories.
It’s a very engaging tale, in many respects foremost a story. It concerns a man called Bob Dollar who’s scouting for real estate to buy – although actually he’s just lost and looking for himself. The plot itself is naive and I dare say consciously so. It all evokes an aura of a story you might hear told, much like many of the stories told to the protagonist over the course of the novel. It carries a tangibly strong feel, you really get a sense for the hot and arid desert towns depicted.

When I began reading the book, I really didn’t care for the setting, but it’s testament to the writing that now I find the desolate American deserts highly interesting. Recommended. Good summer vacation reading, somewhat out of place in the Finnish winter.

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