Summary and book reviews of The Lives of Rocks by Rick Bass

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

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Rick Bass's new collection contains a broad range of characters and settings: Filled with Bass's hallmark lean and beautiful prose, they are further proof of his mastery of the short fiction form.

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 heat lightning.

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 ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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..continued

Full Review (549 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Media Reviews

The Seattle Times - David Flood
All told, Rick Bass effectively metamorphoses character, theme and setting into pleasing new wholes — highly polished gems to be turned over in the mind, again and again.

The New York Times - Jeff Turrentine
... this collection is a reminder that in addition to being a tireless voice for wildlife and forests, he's also one of this country's most sensitive and intelligent short-story writers, adept at capturing people during those moments when they first realize they are indeed component parts of complex organic systems: parts of nature.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. These graceful stories are connected through Bass's invocation of elemental forces, but at the same time each is deliciously distinct.

Booklist - Donna Seaman
Starred Review. Compassionate and hard-hitting, knowledgeable and transcendent, Bass is essential.

Library Journal
Known for his honest portrayal of nature and equally adept in depicting urban settings, the award-winning Bass ...continues to impress with lyrical prose and philosophical thoughts. Strongly recommended.

Kirkus Reviews
It reads like a spiritual parable and proceeds to a resolution so bleak it could break the reader's heart. Bass makes his impassioned points through fiction that rarely resorts to polemics.

Reader Reviews

Linda Hedrick

The Lives of Rocks
I loved it and was left wondering afterward. Wondering is not always such a bad thing. I wanted to know more at the end and intend to reread it after my son, who leans toward tragic novels, reads it and we can discuss his thoughts. I think I may ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Mobile Bay Jubilee

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, with the heavier saltwater beneath and the lighter fresh water on the top. When the Mississippi River dumps an unusually high amount of fresh water into the bay (i.e. after heavy rains), it also dumps large amounts of nitrogen, which in...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Rick Bass

If you liked The Lives of Rocks, try these:

  • Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures jacket

    Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures

    by Vincent Lam

    Published 2008

    About this book

    More by this author

    Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures invites us into a world where the ordinary becomes the critical in a matter of seconds. A formidable debut, it is a profound and unforgettable depiction of today’s doctors, patients, and hospitals.

  • Valentines jacket

    Valentines

    by Olaf Olafsson

    Published 2008

    About this book

    More by this author

    A haunting collection of thematically linked stories that encompasses the twelve months of a year, capturing the most candid moments between lovers, husbands and wives, parents and children.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

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

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: All of Us Villains
    All of Us Villains
    by Amanda Foody, Christine Herman
    All of Us Villains, the first release of a young adult dark fantasy series by Christine Lynn Herman ...
  • Book Jacket: Yonder
    Yonder
    by Jabari Asim
    The captivating historical novel Yonder turns an intimate lens towards the tragedy and survivorship ...
  • Book Jacket: Churchill's Shadow
    Churchill's Shadow
    by Geoffrey Wheatcroft
    Another book about Winston Churchill? Even with the astronomical number of titles written about the ...
  • Book Jacket: 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
    1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
    by Ai Weiwei
    Ai Weiwei is such an influential and innovative artist and activist that a memoir focused purely on ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
My Broken Language
by Quiara Alegría Hudes
A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical coming of age story in a sprawling Puerto Rican family.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Paris Bookseller
    by Kerri Maher

    How a humble bookseller fought incredible odds to bring one of the 20th century's most important books to the world.

  • Book Jacket

    The Fields
    by Erin Young

    A dynamite debut—crime fiction at its very finest.

Who Said...

Life is the garment we continually alter, but which never seems to fit.

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

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A P O B Y Houses

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.