Excerpt from The Lives of Rocks by Rick Bass, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Lives of Rocks

Stories

by Rick Bass

The Lives of Rocks by Rick Bass X
The Lives of Rocks by Rick Bass
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2006, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2007, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


She was surprised by how hard it was to follow his blood trail: only a damp splatter here and there, sometimes red and other times drying brown already against the yellow aspen leaves that looked like spilled coins — as if some thief had been wounded while ferrying away a strongbox and had spilled his blood upon that treasure.

She tried to focus on the task at hand but was aware also of feeling strangely and exceedingly lonely — remembering, seemingly from nowhere, that her father had been red-green colorblind, and realizing how difficult it might have been for him to see those drops of blood. Wishing again that he were here with her, though, to help her with the tracking of this animal.

It was amazing to her how little blood there was. The entry wound, she knew, was no larger than a straw, and the exit wound wouldn’t be much larger than a quarter, and even that small wound would be partially closed up with the shredded flesh, so that almost all of the blood would still be inside the animal, sloshing around, hot and poisoned now, no longer of use but unable to come out.

A drop here, a drop there. She couldn’t stop marveling at how few clues there were. It was easier to follow the tracks in the soft earth, and the swath of broken branches, than it was the blood trail —though whether she was following the herd’s path or the bull’s separate path, she couldn’t be entirely sure.

She came to the edge of the timber and looked out across a small plowed field, the earth dark from having just been turned over to autumn stubble.

Her elk was collapsed dead out in the middle of it —the rest of the herd was long gone, nowhere to be seen — and there was a truck parked next to the elk already, and standing next to the elk were two older men in cowboy hats. Jyl was surprised, then, at how tall the antlers were —taller than either man, even with the elk lying stretched out on the bare ground; taller even than the cab of the truck.

The men did not appear happy to see her coming. It seemed to take her a long time to reach them, and it was hard walking over the furrows and clods of stubble, and from the looks on the men’s faces, she was afraid that the elk might have been one of their pets, that they might even have given it a name.

It wasn’t that bad, as it turned out, but it still wasn’t good.

Their features softened a little as she closed the final distance and they saw how young she was, and how frightened — she could have been either man’s daughter — and as she approached there seemed to be some force of energy about her that disposed them to think the best of her; they found it hard to believe, too, that had she killed the elk illegally she would be marching right up to claim it.

There were no handshakes, no introductions. There was still frost on the windshield of the men’s truck, and Jyl realized they must have jumped into their truck and cold-started it, racing straight up to where they knew the herd hung out.

Used to hang out.

Plumes of fog-breath leapt from the first man’s mouth as he spoke, even though they were all three standing in the sunlight.

“You shot it over on the other side of the fence, right, over on the national forest, and it leapt the fence and came over here to die?” he asked, and he was not being sarcastic: as if, now that he could see Jyl’s features, and her fear and youth, he could not bear to think of her as a poacher.

The other man, who appeared to be a few years the elder —they looked like brothers, with the older one somewhere in his sixties, and fiercer- looking — interrupted before she could answer and said, “Those elk knew never to cross that fence during hunting season.

Copyright © 2006 by Rick Bass. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...
  • Book Jacket: Mothers of Sparta
    Mothers of Sparta
    by Dawn Davies
    What it's about:
    The tagline on the back cover of Mothers of Sparta says it all: "Some women...
  • Book Jacket: Fortress America
    Fortress America
    by Elaine Tyler May
    In Fortress America, Elaine Tyler May presents a fascinating but alarming portrait of America's...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Next Year in Havana
    by Chanel Cleeton

    a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she finds a family secret hidden since the revolution.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don't.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

G O T P, B The P, F T P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.