Tilting at Windmills

In a new novel, Annie Proulx casts her sharp eye on her beloved and bedeviled Panhandle country

Annie Proulx has the number worked out. "Wyoming has 2.1 people per square mile," she tells you. Whether or not she has her math right, it would be fair to say that it represents her notion of congenial population density. After living long and hard in 13 small towns in Vermont, with regular excursions to a house she still keeps in Newfoundland--a place for people who think Maine is overcrowded--she has put down for some years in Centennial, Wyo., a microscopic settlement west of Laramie at the foot of the Medicine Bow Mountains. Just outside town there's a sign that claims...

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