I'm seven books behind now, so I'm going to have to hurry to make the blog match my reading (I'm on book eight, the Ngaio Marsh I mentioned).
As expected, I loved this book. In the 1940s a young man commits a murder in a corner of his father's (one day to be his) farm. To conceal this he runs away, and spends the next 40 years moving about the West, taking odd and any jobs - mining, trapping, bone hunting for paleonthologists... for a while he has a farm, but loses it. He sends postcards home but never has a return address, so he never finds out what has happened to his family and their farm. Instead he keeps an image in his memory of how it was. We read what happens to him, and to his family, and to the US during these 40 years. It's tremendously moving and I devoured it. One of those books you can't put down.
My one quibble is that the postcards sent, that are reproduced at the start of every chapter, are illegible in the small print of the paperback. It ruins the story a little, to be honest.
The Wikipedia entry on Annie Proulx teaches me that she has written some science fiction stories early in her career. I'd love to read them.