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Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2 by Annie Proulx
Bad Dirt is Annie Proulx's second set of Wyoming short stories. Several of the stories revolve around the denizens of Elk Tooth, which has five businesses, three of them bars. The stories are a mix of magical realism, humor, and the desolation and isolation of rural America. There's a beard-growing contest, a hot-tub fad, a hay-finding expedition, the passing of stories and legends between neighbors and generations, and those who can't find or have lost their place in the world. Annie Proulx brings life, not just to the characters who inhabit her stories, but to the land she evokes so eloquently with her prose. Bad Dirt has received mostly positive reviews with the Seattle Times saying, "Proulx's easy mastery of both tragic and humorous notes makes the collection feel more spacious and all-encompassing than its modest length would suggest."