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.
Rod Giblett came to live by Forrestdale Lake in southwestern Australia in 1986. Based in part on a nature journal he kept for several years, Black Swan Lake
traces the life of the plants and animals of the surrounding area through the seasons. Presenting a wetlands calendar that charts the yearly cycle of the rising, falling, and drying waters of this internationally significant wetland, this book is a modern-day Walden
. The first book to provide a cultural and natural history of this placeandmdash;taking into account the indigenous peopleandrsquo;s concept of the seasons (six instead of four)andmdash;Black Swan Lake
will be enjoyed by conservationists, as well as others seeking connection with place, plants, and animals in their own bioregion.
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.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsand#160;Part I: Wetlands calendar
and#160;and#160;and#160; 1. For a few years
and#160;and#160;and#160; 2. Rising waters (August/Djilba/late winter)
and#160;and#160;and#160; 3. Other place (September/Djilba/early spring)
and#160;and#160;and#160; 4. Other life (October/Kambarang/mid-spring)
and#160;and#160;and#160; 5. Wetland world (November/Kambarang/late spring)
and#160;and#160;and#160; 6. Drying up (December/Birak/early summer)
and#160;and#160;and#160; 7. Dry as a rule (Januaryand#8211;February/Birkand#8211;Bunuru/mid-, late summer)
and#160;and#160;and#160; 8. Still water (March/Bunuru/early autumn)
and#160;and#160;and#160; 9. Big puddle (April/Djeran/mid-autumn)
and#160;and#160;and#160; 10. Waterand#8217;s back (June/Makuru/early winter)
and#160;and#160;and#160; 11. Birds are back (July/Makuru/mid-winter)
Part II: The downflow
and#160;and#160;and#160; 12. The ballad of black swan lake: Homage to Henry David James
and#160;and#160;and#160; 13. The black swan: Homage to hoax writers
and#160;and#160;and#160; 14. The blackness of the black swan: Homage to Herman Melville
and#160;and#160;and#160; 15. Black swamp city: Homage to Hugh Webb
and#160;and#160;and#160; 16. The body of the earth and the body of Australia: Homage to the human body
and#160;and#160;and#160; 17. The way of water: Homage to Master Moy Lin-Shin
and#160;and#160;and#160; 18. The seasons: homage to Henry David Thoreau
and#160;and#160;and#160; 19. The black arts of sublime technologies: Homage to Henry Adams
and#160;and#160;and#160; 20. People and the place of the whistling kite: Homage to Haliastur sphenurus
and#160;and#160;and#160; 21. Living black waters: Homage to horrifying marsh monsters
and#160;and#160;and#160; 22. Living with the earth: Homage to home-habitatand#160;Further Reading