In the Loyal Mountains: Stories

In the Loyal Mountains: Stories

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by Rick Bass
     
 

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Rick Bass's recent trio of novellas, Platte River, was hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "a major step in [his] climb to the top echelon of American fiction writers." Now, with this dazzling new collection, Bass establishes himself as a master of the short story. These tales embrace vibrant images of human life and exuberant explorations of the natural world.

Overview

Rick Bass's recent trio of novellas, Platte River, was hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "a major step in [his] climb to the top echelon of American fiction writers." Now, with this dazzling new collection, Bass establishes himself as a master of the short story. These tales embrace vibrant images of human life and exuberant explorations of the natural world. In the title story, a man remembers his youth in the Texas hill country when he participated in his uncle's raucous escapades, which have taken new shape and meaning by what has happened since. Although his work is grounded in reality, Bass's stories acquire fantastic proportions: enormous pigs charge through the streets and root beneath houses; a narrator meets a woman who runs up and down mountains; two wild boys converge deep in the woods to joust. Each of these ten stories is a mythical narrative celebrating the tentative, moving relationship between people and their environment.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this moving and self-assured collection of 10 stories (some of them linked, others not), Bass (Platte River) captures two very different regions of the country. A handful of the selections are set in an isolated Montana valley, a place inhabited by cougars and bears and the occasional pedestrian who gets pulled off the road and mauled. Others are set in the deep South, including ``The Legend of Pig-Eye,'' in which a Mississippi boxer recounts the bizarre training rituals of his instructor, which include outswimming a crazed horse named Killer. All of the stories are told in the first person, and all the narrators are men. Often looking back at important moments in their lives, they never waver in their love for their environments: ``I wake up smiling sometimes because I have all my days left to live in this place,'' says the unnamed narrator of ``The Valley.'' For that love, the men often pay a price measured in human isolation, but they pay it willingly. The protagonist of ``Swamp Boy'' speaks for most of Bass's men when he says: ``My heart was wild and did not belong among people.'' Between the opening story, ``The History of Rodney'' (a Southern-gothic tale about the denizens of a pig-infested Mississippi ghost town), and the close of the title story (a nostalgic riff on Texas, suicide and golf) Bass achieves a solid thematic cohesion and an irrational sort of communion among the stories that give this collection something like the heft of a wonderfully layered novel. (June)
"Bass's fiction takes us to the borders of civiliation, here we glimpse an untamed worlds of myth and mystery."
Donna Seaman
Whether he's writing fiction or nonfiction, Bass expresses his profound love of the wild. His sense of the magnificent and bewildering complexity of life infuses each of the haunting short stories in this strong collection. Structurally, there's a sort of North-South axis running through this volume because some stories are set in muggy, fetid Texas bayou country and others in the rarefied, snowy highlands of Montana. In both settings, Bass gives voice to the spirit of the place. Water, mud, rock, and flora and fauna are all suffused with history, all spun from the earthly cycles of days, nights, and seasons. Bass' characters inhabit this world wistfully, held fast in the grip of a loneliness deeper than memory, of anger without certain cause, and driven by a need for solitude and a fierce desire for something that "will last, and will not leave." Bass conjures up tiny, isolated communities of quirky individuals hunkering down in severe heat or dangerous cold. Their relationships are few and not simple or casual, but all seem tenuous compared to the immensity of the sky, the patience of trees.
Tobin Harshaw
This is a collection of stories about men -- men and nature, men and guns, men and women and, mostly, men and loneliness....Through his understanding of the West's least trammeled corners, he leads us into mountains we would never survive alone and takes us convincingly into magic realism. -- New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547617336
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
06/20/1995
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
668,014
File size:
561 KB

Meet the Author

RICK BASS’s fiction has received O. Henry Awards, numerous Pushcart Prizes, awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, among others. Most recently, his memoir Why I Came West was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

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In the Loyal Mountains 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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