FIBER by Rick Bass


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This is the first separate publication of a fierce plea for the preservation of nature, in the guise of a short story, originally published in the anthology Off the Beaten Path: Stories of Place (not reviewed). The themes raised here will come as no surprise to fans of Bass’s work as a novelist (Where the Sea Used to Be, p. 510, etc.) and essayist (The Book of Yaak, 1996, etc.); wild nature still offers, for those willing to seek it, a “blessed landscape,” diverse and instructive beauty, and a reanimating strength. The protagonist of the tale lives (as does Bass) in the Yaak Valley of northwestern Montana, a region still largely wild but also profoundly endangered by logging and the threat of development. As a kind of defiance of both the loggers and the capricious federal government, Bass’s narrator makes a slender living by cutting down already damaged trees in the wilderness areas, sometimes going so far as to deposit them on the doorstep of an unsuspecting logger. The plot, however, is not much developed. In essence, the tale is simply another version of Bass’s clearly heartfelt plea for people to organize to protect the Yaak, a wildly beautiful area in danger of being destroyed by logging. An appendix on “What You Can Do” instructs readers on how to get involved. Fiber offers, for those requiring it, further evidence that Bass is rapidly becoming one of our preeminent writers on the environment. A strong, sad piece of work. (Illustrations by Elizabeth Hughes Bass, the author’s wife)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8203-2063-3
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Univ. of Georgia
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998


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