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Returning to Earthby Jim Harrison
Synopses & Reviews
A strange and powerful landscape summons strange and powerful happenings
Rick Bass brings a lyrical lushness to the harsh backdrop of West Texas in his masterfully crafted fourth novel. All the Land to Hold Us is a sweeping tale of those who live on the desert’s edge, where riches—precious artifacts, oil, water, love—can all be found and lost again in an instant.
Roaming across the salt flats and skirting the salt lake, Richard, a geologist working for an oil company, hunts for fossils under the spell of Clarissa, the local beauty who plans to use her share of their plunder to get out of small, dusty Midland for good. A generation earlier, a Depression-era couple, Max and Marie Omo, numbly mines for salt along the banks of the briny lake until the emotional terrain of their marriage is suddenly and irrevocably altered. The strange, surreal arrival of a runaway circus elephant, careening across the sand, sets in motion Marie’s final break from Max and heralds the beginning of her second chance. Consequences reverberate through the years and the dunes when Marie becomes indelibly linked to Richard’s own second act.
With a cast of characters rounded out by a one-legged-treasure-hunter, a renegade teacher, and an unforgettable elephant trainer, All the Land to Hold Us is a vivid portrait of a fierce place and the inimitable characters that possess the capacity to adapt to and also despoil it. The novel boasts all the hallmarks of Bass’s most enduring work—human longing and greed, nature endangered, and the possibility for redemption are all writ large on his desert canvas.
Hailed by "The New York Times Book Review" as "a master ... who makes the ordinary extraordinary, the unnamable unforgettable," beloved author Jim Harrison returns with a masterpiece--a tender, profound, and magnificent novel about life, death, and finding redemption in unlikely places. Slowly dying of Lou Gehrig's Disease, Donald, a middle-aged Chippewa-Finnish man, begins dictating family stories he has never shared with anyone, hoping to preserve history for his children. The dignity of Donald's death and his legacy encourages his loved ones to find a way to redeem--and let go of--the past, whether through his daughter's emersion in Chippewa religious ideas or his mourning wife's attempt to escape the malevolent influence of her own father. A deeply moving book about origins and endings, and how to live with honor for the dead, "Returning to Earth" is one of the finest novels of Harrison's long, storied career, and will confirm his standing as one of the most important American writers now working.
A masterfully crafted novel of seekers that spans three generations set amidst the harsh terrain of West Texas.
In his universally-praised book, Harrison has delivered a masterpiece--a tender, profound, and magnificent novel about life, death, and the possibility of finding redemption in unlikely places.
In the universally-praised Returning to Earth, Jim Harrison has delivered a masterpiece—a tender, profound, and magnificent novel about life, death, and the possibility of finding redemption in unlikely places. Donald is a middle-aged Chippewa-Finnish man slowly dying of Lou Gehrigs disease. His condition deteriorating, he realizes no one will be able to pass on to his children their family history once he is gone. He begins dictating to his wife, Cynthia, stories he has never shared with anyone—as around him, his family struggles to lay him to rest with the same dignity with which he has lived. Over the course of the year following Donalds death, his daughter begins studying Chippewa ideas of death for clues about her fathers religion, while Cynthia, bereft of the family she created to escape the malevolent influence of her own father, finds that redeeming the past is not a lost cause. Returning to Earth is a deeply moving book about origins and endings, making sense of loss, and living with honor for the dead. It is among the finest novels of Harrisons long, storied career, and confirms his standing as one of the most important American writers now working.
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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