Bird Cloud is the name of a bit of property that Annie Proulx bought in Wyoming. Here she plans on building her dream house. Clearly she never got around to watching the brilliant Cary Grant film called Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House-or she would have known what to expect. As it is see falls in love with a bit land and decides to buy it and build a home there. A comedy of errors ensues.
But this is Annie Proulx, author of the brilliant Shipping News, in which she manages to squeeze in the history of newspapers, boats, and Newfoundland along with the tale of a rather insipid fellow whose one claim to fame is that he has a very large penis. So there is a bit more here than the sorry tale of going broke trying to build a house where no one has ever tried to build a house before.
Annie Proulx gives a personal history lesson on people named Proulx and how she can trace her roots back to Adam-or so it seems to me, since I can trace my roots all the way back to my parents.
She then goes into some detail about what a bunch of rotten bastards White People have always been in general, and how especially loathsome settlers in Wyoming were and many still are. A lot of this has to do with farming and ranching, and the general hatred of all things indigenous from the people to the plants and the animals and the birds. She has a strong dislike for the Government and The Railroads as well. Oh, and she’s not too fond of Power Companies, Water Companies, or most people involved in the building trades.
She is very fond of nature, so long as it doesn’t interfere with her personal life. She finds that she hates the wind in Wyoming and that the winter is unlivable. Annie is shocked, simple shocked, that it gets cold in Wyoming in the winter. She likes animals, except for the ones that eat her garden and trample her grass and in any way inconvenience her. She falls in love with a couple of bald eagles and a couple of golden eagles. She laments the fact that people upstream like to kill off pelicans and that ranchers like to kill off eagles and that the whole state is nothing but a wasteland compared to what it was a mere hundred years ago.
The story of the house is just a jumping off point for a lot of small history lessons, but it is still interesting in itself. Why is it so hard to get everything just the way you want it?
Bird Cloud was a good listen and I liked hearing Annie Proulx give a bit of the reading a shot in the first chapter. Joan Allen does a good job reading the rest of the book.