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Postcards Paperback – Bargain Price, August 1, 1994

3.8 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, August 1, 1994
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This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an Amazon.com price sticker identifying them as such. Details

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Reproduced as graphics that preface narrative sections, the postcards in this novel -- communications between the Blood family and their son Loyal, as well as other personal mail and advertising material -- progressively reveal the insecurity of the rural Bloods in the changing post-war world. Loyal has fled into exile after an accidental killing, but cannot find a haven of rest. The family patriarch, Mink, writes vitriolic letters to local agricultural agents when the real object of his ire is his absent son. Loyal's brother sends off for an artificial arm to replace the one he lost in an accident; his sister answers a mail order ad for a husband. Through the mail, Proulx inventively reveals the inchoate longings of a difficult existence in this winner of the 1993 PEN/Faulkner Award.

From Publishers Weekly

In this poignant first novel by Proulx ( Heart Songs and Other Stories ), artfully misspelled postcards form the tenuous links between ill-fated young trapper Loyal Blood and his family--Mink and Jewelle, Dub and Mernelle--who eke a meager existence from their ancestral Vermont farm. When Loyal accidentally kills his saucy redheaded sweetheart Billy while making love in the fields, he hides her body in a stone-covered fox den. Abruptly he tells his family that he and Billy are heading west to "make a new start." In a vengeful rage his father Mink shoots Loyal's cows. Loyal endures harsh years of self-imposed exile as, from 1944 to the '80s, he roves from job to job--mining, fossil picking, trapping--each authoritatively detailed. Racked with gagging seizures whenever he tries to touch another woman, sick in his lungs, Loyal doggedly accepts his lot without complaint. Back home the violent, feckless Bloods fall into ruin, attempting arson, serving jail terms and losing the farm, which is sold for trailer parks. Flurries of postcards fly, both personal and commercial: brother Dub answers one for an artificial limb, desperate sister Mernelle responds to a lonely lumberman's ad for a wife. Proulx writes a rich, sensuous prose; she captures the earthy, hard-bitten voices of men and women resigned to travail and documents the passing of an epoch. If there is a fault, it is the overabundance of minor characters randomly introduced into the narrative.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (August 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068480087X
  • ASIN: B005Q733KQ
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,991,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I do admire Annie Proulx's writing, it is the sort that transports you to the setting. If the setting is the amazing Blood farm and the consequent flight therefrom then that's where you go, like it or not. Judging from these reviews, the less articulate amongst us did not like it.... I can't say I enjoyed the book in a lighthearted sense , but I certainly did enjoy it the literary appreciation sense. I found it both difficult to read and difficult to stop. Difficult because of the thread of violence , blood and death that runs through it,particularly as relates to animals. I was brought up in rural setting, but the cruelty and carnage that is farming in bygone Vermont is something else. I was almost reading with a hand partly in front of my eyes, as in a horror movie. (Perhaps Jane Smiley could do an American version of Cold Comfort Farm based on the Blood saga ) An interesting thing I note , also from the other reviews is the different ways in which people interpret the first page killing. I saw it an indubitably a murder,even if the intent was not originally there , others saw it as an accident of some sort. Whatever, the lonely saga of the guilty Loyal Blood is the backbone of the book, and his retribution is slow and complete and even if like me you though him initially guilty and his occupations cruel and unusual, your heart still goes out to him. His parents, the luxuriantly-named, and anything but luxuriantly endowed Jewell and Mink Blood are likewise important characters - at 60-odd Loyal is still loyally writng his postcards to his dead father and absent mother,sister and brother . Do they escape - well you read and find out. I promise you a seriously good read
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a really good laugh, (especially if you've already read the book) read the 1 star reviews.
They're absolutely hilarious. I'm still giggling.
I'm in my 60s and have been a voracious reader all my life.
I guess I've read thousands of novels as well as thousands of nonfiction books on whatever subject happened to interest me at the time.
One of those 'whattchamacall' autodidacts.
Post Cards is one of the best damn novels I've ever read.
Let me qualify that:
I hate stories where every damn thing that happens is connected and explained, where every character you meet becomes an integral part of the story and
where everything raps up in a tidy bundle at the end. Hate them.
As you might imagine, not that many writers suit me, especially as I've grown older and more discerning.

I've read all of Annie Proulx's fiction and it's all, top notch.

But if you're looking for laughs and a tidy little story with a sweet ending, in the words of Willi Nelson "She's not for you."
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Introduced to Annie Proulx from her book _Shipping News_, I eagerly snatched this book up with the same expectations and I was delivered of that and more. An outstanding story of family, blood lines, history and human strength and frailty, Annie once again strikes gold. Teased, the reader gets little glimpses of mementos, mail, postcards throughout the novel that relate in intriguing ways to the story content. Probably the biggest teaser would be the first few pages. I challenge any lover of literature to read those pages and put the novel back on the shelf. There is simply no way to resist this book when you have read this entry. My analysis of a great work of literature is my intention to reread the novel again. There are a handfull of books I know I will, as the temptation to read something fresh is always greater. This novel will never be lent out, for I will wait until it dims just the slightest in my memory, and then I will seek it out and read it again with as much anticipation as when I read it the first time. I can't wait!!
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Format: Paperback
What a phenomenal novel by E. Annie Proulx. I thumbed through the pages at the bookstore, saw postcards prefacing almost every chapter, and was immediately attracted to the novel. I had no idea, though, that it was going to be this good. I have been hooked up on this book to the very end, yet this is not a happy, pretty novel. This was hard reality, ugliness and bad luck in every other page, strangely compelling chapter after chapter. I would say there was very little fiction in this book, and that's what made it so good for me.
As an aside: just a few days ago, i reviewed Beach Music, by Pat Conroy, and my main criticism is that it dealt with many, many story lines that did not connect well. The end result was an 800-page mishmash of tales and situations that left me with a sense of annoyance. Postcards is a perfect example of how in barely 300 pages you can have dozens of lives and places and situations in harmony. It just takes some skill on the part of the author (one of the tricky parts of writing).
These are some of the things that make this novel so excellent, in my opinion:
1: Her character development is fabulous. If Loyal is not a walking example of karma, i don't know what is. How could one feel sorry for a criminal? Yet i could. And Dub, proof of how ironic life can be. Mink, born miserable. Jewell and her renaissance. Witkin and his sense of emptiness. These characters were flesh and blood, not paper.
2: Her descriptions of place are brilliant. I have never been in a dairy farm, but i feel like i have. The smells, the grime, the bitter cold, the absence of electric light. The insides of the caved mine. The desert and the heat. It was not difficult to visualize any of these places, because her detailed portrayal was so vivid and complete.
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