The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness
“Two appealing short stories and an exquisite novella” about the relationship between humans and the natural world around them (Kirkus Reviews).
This is a “wondrous” (GQ) collection of short fiction exploring the subtle interplay between predator and prey, from “a literary titan” (The New York Times Book Review).
In the title story, a woman has returned to live on the west Texas ranch that has been in her family since Texas was a republic. Her mother, who died when she was a child, is buried there; the three men who raised her—her father, grandfather, and Old Chubb, a Mexican ranch hand—are gone; and her brother, like herself, is childless. Soon, all that will be left of the family is the land: “I suppose the land is all we will leave behind,” she reflects. “In that way it is both our parents and our children.”
Land is central to the other tales here as well. In The Myths of Bears, a man tracks his wife through a winter wilderness as she both lures and eludes him. And in Where the Sea Used to Be, an ancient ocean buried in the foothills of the Appalachians becomes a battleground for a young wildcat oilman and his aging mentor.
“Rick Bass is a force of nature. [This book] is a force of language. As a reader, a third thing comes to mind: gratitude for a good story that allows us to ponder what is above and what is below.” —Terry Tempest Williams
“What’s exhilarating about Rick Bass’s stories is that they show every hallmark of ‘the natural’—that lucid, free-flowing, particularly American talent whose voice we can hear in Twain, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway.” —Chicago Tribune