Rick Bass's new collection contains a broad range of characters and settings: the title story concerns a woman recovering from cancer; "Pagans" tells, at forty years' distance, of a girl and two boys -- one of whom was in love with her -- and the dangerous games they played; in "Her First Elk," a woman reflects on her first elk hunt and on her memories of her father and two brothers, now all dead. These stories, distinguished by their maturity, are narrated by men and women with compelling life tales. Filled with Bass's hallmark lean and beautiful prose, they are further proof of his mastery of the short fiction form.
Her First Elk
She had killed an elk once. She had been a young woman, just out of
college her beloved father already three years in the grave and had set
out early on opening morning, hiking uphill through a forest of huge
ponderosa pines, with the stars shining like sparks through their boughs, and
owls calling all around her, and her breath rising strong in puffs and clouds as
she climbed, and a shimmering at the edge of her vision like the electricity in
the night sky that sometimes precedes the arrival of the northern lights, or
The hunt was over astonishingly quickly; years later, she would realize that the best hunts stretch out four or five weeks, and sometimes never result in a taking. But this one had ended in the first hour, on the first day.
Even before daylight, she had caught the scent of the herd bedded down just ahead of her, a scent sweeter and ranker than that of any number of stabled horses; and ...
Without exception, these are graceful, thoughtful, compassionate and powerful stories, many of which have the staying power to be recalled for many years to come
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (838 words).
Did you know?
In "Titan" a man recalls a boyhood vacation spent on the coast of Alabama in which he experiences a "Jubilee". Jubilee is a natural phenomena that occurs in Mobile Bay from time to time, usually before dawn on a warm summer night, when large numbers of fish, crabs and shrimps swarm close to shore, making themselves easily available to locals who come out with all sorts of containers and scoop them up in quantity.
Jubilee appears to be caused by the natural stratification of the Bay waters, ...
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