All The Land to Hold Us: Book summary and reviews of All The Land to Hold Us by Rick Bass

All The Land to Hold Us

By Rick Bass

All The Land to Hold Us
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2013,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

Rick Bass brings a lyrical lushness to the harsh backdrop of West Texas in his masterfully crafted fourth novel. All The Land to Hold Us is a sweeping tale of those who live on the desert's edge, where riches - precious artifacts, oil, water, love - can all be found and lost again in an instant.

Roaming across the salt flats and skirting the salt lake, Richard, a geologist working for an oil company, hunts for fossils under the spell of Clarissa, the local beauty who plans to use her share of their plunder to get out of small, dusty Midland for good. A generation earlier, a Depression-era couple, Max and Marie Omo, numbly mines for salt along the banks of the briny lake until the emotional terrain of their marriage is suddenly and irrevocably altered. The strange, surreal arrival of a runaway circus elephant, careening across the sand, sets in motion Marie's final break from Max and heralds the beginning of her second chance. Consequences reverberate through the years and the dunes when Marie becomes indelibly linked to Richard's own second act.

With a cast of characters rounded out by a one-legged-treasure-hunter, a renegade teacher, and an unforgettable elephant trainer, All The Land to Hold Us is a vivid portrait of a fierce place and the inimitable characters that possess the capacity to adapt to and also despoil it. The novel boasts all the hallmarks of Bass's most enduring work - human longing and greed, nature endangered, and the possibility for redemption are all writ large on his desert canvas.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A strong novel that spotlights what humanity does totheland without acknowledging its costs." - Publishers Weekly

"Like a more modern McTeague or a Cormac McCarthy parody, the latest from Bass (The Lives of Rocks, 2006, etc.) falls short of its epic ambitions...A touch of humor, even a little more dialogue, might have tempered the thematic self-importance." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Rick Bass Author Biography

Photo: Nicole Blaisdell

Rick Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1958. His father was a geologist who passed on his passion to his son.  Bass received a B.S. in petroleum geology at Utah State University in 1979, and then worked as a gas and oil geologist in Jackson, Mississippi.  He started writing short stories during his lunch breaks.

In 1987 he and his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes, moved to the Yaak Valley in the northern Rockies, near the Idaho-Montana-Canada border.  They have two daughters and a couple of hunting dogs.  Bass is active in working to protect the Yaak area from roads and logging, and serves on the board of the Yaak Valley Forest Council and Round River Conservation Studies.

He is the author of over twenty books. His first short story collection...

... Full Biography

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