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The land

All the Land to Hold Us

Title: All the Land to Hold Us
By: Rick Bass

It's all about the land.

This odd, compelling, but challenging book is worth the effort. Using his own background in geology, Bass makes vibrant the desert lands of West Texas--a region of intense heat and endless sand. I found myself keeping a bottle of water within hand's reach while reading this novel. A small cast of characters pass in a dreamlike trance through an environment that leaches out their hopes, and, at times, humanity. They plunder the endless sand for oil, for salt, for skulls, for fossils and dessicated historical artifacts abandoned by passersby of another time; and, finally, for water. Driven also by love, both sexual and familial, the protagonists evolve through the course of the book, becoming more recognizable and human as the landscape changes to different venues.

Bass dives directly into issues of today: oil consumption, water purity, and animal cruelty, the latter via the iconic figure of an escaped circus elephant. In the end, through a reprise of early characters and introduction of colorful new ones, including a traveling troupe of war-maimed Vietnamese silk weavers, we can glimpse the hope he envisions for a purer time when man is more in tune with his environment.

This would make a great book discussion choice.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction

Posted on Sept. 29, 2013 at 2:05 a.m.

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