So You Want To Read “Brokeback Mountain”

I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m getting this question a lot these days. Here’s what Ang Lee told the NYT’s Karen Durbin:

“When I first read the story, it gripped me. It’s a great American love story, told in a way that felt as if it had never been done before. I had tears in my eyes at the end. You remember? You see the shirts put away in the closet side by side.”
Who could forget? When Annie Proulx’s short story about two cowboys in love appeared in The New Yorker nearly eight years ago, it was so startling and powerful that for many people, the experience of reading it remains a vivid, almost physical memory.

The movie just won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and had its North American debut at the Toronto Festival last week. The theatrical release is expected in December, which gives you enough time to track down a copy of Brokeback Mountain yourself.

brokeback_mountain.jpg heathnjake_bbm.jpg

Here’s where it is:

  • in the October 13, 1997 edition of The New Yorker [back issues? good luck with that. Try The Complete New Yorker 8 DVD-ROM set and companion book, which comes out Sept. 20th (?!)]
  • in Close Range, Proulx’s first collection of short stories, published in 1999.
  • in an expanded novella version [the pre-movie edition was pulled and is only available sporadically or used. The movie tie-in reissue is due Nov. 15 in both tasteful hardback (left)and oohheathnjakersohot paperback (right)].
    Here’s where it isn’t: online. on The New Yorker’s website.
    A slightly bowdlerized version of the text was posted last summer on a message board at, but has since been taken down. If you try Googling a distinctive phrase [like, say, “They shook hands in the choky little trailer office,”] you might find it, though. [unbelievable-but-true update via towleroad: Amazon published the complete story as an excerpt for an out-of-print audio version of Close Range.]
    And just like that, his dream of amassing a mountain of quarters from Amazon commissions burns off like morning dew on the alfalfa field.
    Ang Lee: Master of Social Mores [nyt via iht]
    Official filmsite: