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, and his memoir, Why I Came West, was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.
"How we fall into grace. You can't work or earn your way into it. You just fall. It lies below, it lies beyond. It comes to you, unbidden," writes novelist and essayist Bass (Where the Sea Used to Be, etc.) of the arrival of his "goofy little knot-headed" genius of a pointing dog. As they roam the remote western Montana valley where Bass lives, and hunt the golden autumn plains in the eastern part of the state, Colter unfailingly ushers Bass into "an unexplored land" where the two become "as alive as we have ever been: our senses so sharp and whittled alive that we could barely stand it." Their prolonged hours of "wanting only one thing, a bird, wanting it so effortlessly and purely that [we] come the closest [we] will ever come to a shared language" are a blessing. But always, for Bass, there is the undertow of paradox: of living for the hunt but being a comically rotten marksman; of being a hunter yet an environmentalist; of his tendency to love with "a passion so intense it borders on gluttony," inevitably followed by the crushing numbness that marks the loss of what he loves. Bass's exhaustless appetite for natural beauty and his propensity for "bragging on" his dog occasionally lead to exuberant repetition ("It was just so damn great to be out in such open country with my dogs"), but more often result in luminously transcendent passages on the education and sorrowful loss of a brilliant and mischievous chocolate brown pointer that will transfix anyone who has ever loved a dog. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
This delightful book is really a love story about the special bond and level of understanding that can exist between a man and his dog. It is also a story that celebrates nature, describing life in the Montana woods and the thrill of hunting in the never-ending fields at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. In his latest book, nature writer Bass (The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness) tells the story of life with a very special hunting dog. Colter is the runt of the litter, and Bass ends up buying the pup because no one else wants him. But as he grows, Colter's instinct takes over, and his passion for hunting is unequalled. The dog's abilities are so outstanding that Bass, admittedly a poor shot, feels guilty when he misses a bird because he feels that he is letting his dog down. His enthusiasm is contagious and somewhat amusing: Bass loves to hunt, but does not particularly care whether he shoots anything; it is the thrill of watching his dog work that he finds exciting. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/00; BOMC selection.]DDeborah Emerson, Monroe Community Coll., Rochester, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.