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The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons at Home in Montanaby Rick Bass
Synopses & Reviews
The Wild Marsh is Rick Bass’s most mature, full account of life in the Yaak and a crowning achievement in his celebrated career. It begins with his family settling in for the long Montana winter, and captures all the subtle harbingers of change that mark each passing month — the initial cruel teasing of spring, the splendor and fecundity of summer, and the bittersweet memories evoked by fall.
It is full of rich observation about what it takes to live in the valley — ruggedness, improvisation and, of course, duct tape. The Wild Marsh is also tremendously poignant, especially when Bass reflects on what it means for his young daughters to grow up surrounded by the strangeness and wonder of nature. He shares with them the Yaak’s little secrets — where the huckleberries are best in a dry year, where to find a grizzly’s claw marks in an old cedar — and discovers that passing on this intimate local knowledge, the knowledge of home, is a kind of rare and valuable love.
Bass emerges not just as a writer but as a father, a neighbor, and a gifted observer, uniquely able to bring us close to the drama and sanctity of small things, ensuring that though the wilderness is increasingly at risk, the voice of the wilderness will not disappear.
"Novelist and naturalist Bass (The Lives of Rocks) gets up close and personal with local fauna, flora and folks in this account of the passing seasons in northwestern Montana's Yaak Valley wilderness range, where he and his family — four of the estimated 150 inhabitants of the half-a-million-acre region — have dwelled for 13 years. January is the dark month; March heralds the mud season; May brings hard rains and the first aspen buds. July and August are when fire, 'a forest's breath,' both renews the landscape and threatens homes. Come October, 'a heroic fatigue' sets in after spring's heady growth and summer's steady pace, and spirits surge on a brittle, sunny day in December. Bass complements naturalistic observations with anecdotes about his neighbors, like the accommodating old-timers who winch his truck out of a ravine. Throughout, the author anchors his celebration of nature's elegant order with his rhapsodic relationship to the wild marsh outside his writing cabin, and the uncompromising wilderness it represents. Bass has mined his valley for several other books, but there is no shortage of nature's grace for him to exalt. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In his account of life in Montana, Bass emerges not just as a writer but as a father, a neighbor, and a gifted observer, ensuring that though the wilderness is increasingly at risk, the voice of the wilderness will not disappear.
About the Author
RICK BASSs 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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History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Montana