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In the Loyal Mountains

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  268 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
To quote the Los Angeles Times: "Impelled by a profound love of the land, the ten stories in In the Loyal Mountains are a reminder that American literature draws its unique strength from a powerful sense of place." In this luminous collection, Rick Bass firmly establishes himself as a master of the short story, with tales that embrace vibrant images of ordinary human life ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 15th 1997 by Mariner Books (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 460)
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Kirk Smith
Aug 15, 2015 Kirk Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Beautiful escapist stories for adults, set in the most idyllic settings in nature. I want to describe the style or at least the perspective as primal romantic. These are the kinds of stories that say "seek your dreams", and then give great examples of what that could be. It makes me wish I could have had the life of a trust fund baby, maybe living 6 months a year on an island, and 6 months in Montana. Great stories, full of life, they feel like springtime, I'm not the best audience, my season i ...more
Sep 18, 2015 Utsav rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-kindle, book-club
I. In Which I Extol the Virtues of Solitude

The last few winters I’ve been living alone in a house on a hillside in the north of Thimphu valley, way outside the city. The house is almost at the edge of the forest, and no people live around me. Once in a while when it snows the mud track to the house ices over and I’m effectively trapped in.

On Sundays or if I take a day or two off work, I like to sit outside after breakfast and enjoy the morning sun. Sometimes I’ll pop a cold beer or roll myself o
I had to read the first story again, “The History of Rodney.” Rodney, Mississippi: “The slow summer. The time when nothing moves forward, when everything pauses, and then stops. It’s a good idea.” The river is gone, the pigs are cursed generals, the town is twelve people.
“This place isn’t on the map, right?” Elizabeth will ask. It’s a game we play. We’re frightened of cities, of other people.
“It might as well not even exist,” I’ll tell her.
She seems reassured.
But, next is “Swamp Boy,” and I ca
Jan 12, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it
These are the type of stories you read out loud while holding a loved one in your arms.
Michael Whitaker
Jan 15, 2015 Michael Whitaker rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I really liked this collection of stories. I could read "The History of Rodney" again and again and again. It's a hard story to follow. Still, I loved "Swamp Boy," "Fires." "The Wait," and "In the Loyal Mountains" would be included among my favorites, as well.

Rick Bass is such an interesting writer to me. I'm going to be on the hunt for "The Stars, The Sky, The Wilderness" and "Platte River." I feel like I'd be enamored by the fully realized worlds he creates for longer pieces and I think the n
Andy Miller
Sep 23, 2014 Andy Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great collection of Rick Bass short stories published in 1995. My favorites were the ones set in the Yaak Valley. "Fires" centered on a Yaak resident who is hired to help a world class runner who came to the Yaak to train by biking behind her with a gun in case a bear decided to join the chase. The two develop a friendship amidst the simplicity and wonder of the Yaak valley life, the scenes of her running are among the best writing of running I've ever read

"The Valley"is somewhat a travelogue
I think I read this too fast. All of the stories had a similar tone which I couldn't possibly put into words. Needs to be savored over time, otherwise the wonder is lost.

History of Rodney, the first story, is my favorite. A sleepy, hot, forgotten town in the south with a handful of old and lost, crazy pigs and a river somewhere out there.
Aug 18, 2014 Ted rated it really liked it
I'd heard Bass' "Fires" read aloud on the radio one day, and since it was about a woman moving up to WA state to do some trail running, it seemed right up my alley.

I really enjoyed a few of these stories - "Fires", "The Legend of Pig-Eye", "In the Loyal Mountains", and especially "Days of Heaven". All of them were worth reading, and he does a really good job of painting some vivid and believable mountain/wilderness scenes. Some of the scenes are almost mythic-seeming, and still stick with me -
Dave Newman
Jan 30, 2016 Dave Newman rated it it was amazing
This was slower than the other Rick Bass I loved, The Watch, but it was equally as powerful. Whether out west or in the south of Texas and Mississippi, these are stories about the wilderness and our desire to never lose that. Bass writes clean powerful sentences and he's a master of setting--a cool lake, a loyal mountain, an animal carcass and the incoming crows. His characters want to be left alone but they can't stand the loneliness, providing Bass with a narrative drive that often takes the p ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Kenny rated it it was amazing
One of the best short story collections I've come across. It's hard not to see it as a book about men - in cold wilderness, in small towns, living simple lives with simple affairs of life and women and work. It's both lyrical and plainly written. Their structure is perfection - they draw you in, you find yourself in their rhythm, then they hit you hard in the end; my breath was taken away at the end of a few.
Chris Holme
Apr 26, 2015 Chris Holme rated it really liked it
Sentences that bring pause, ( like, perfect ) paragraphs that say more than most short stories, greatly wonderful writing adding up to really pleasurable reading, man this guy, he takes you there, really takes you there. I will always pick up and re-read where ever this book falls open to.
Jul 31, 2007 Duc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: living-library
I met the author in a reading at Powell's. He signed my book in 1995 when the book first came out.
I just re read three of his short stories in one sitting. 'Fires', 'Antlers', and 'Valley' are beautiful stories. I like short stories for the simple reason that it get to the point with metaphors and not clutter it up with too many details or side stories. 'Fire' is a metaphor for the relationship between the Runner, and the Narrator. I think of Hemingway and some of his Nick Adams stories
Jan 03, 2015 Katrinka rated it really liked it
Still more like a 3.75-- but truly enjoyable. Having read it right after finishing Bass's first collection of short stories (The Watch), it was great to see how he developed over a few years as a storyteller.
Feb 08, 2015 N. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book of short stories. All centered around naturalist settings- but each one includes a slice of life thread that should make them appealing to anyone- even if you don't care about the nature and the outdoors. Bass writing skills rank up there with the best of the best. His sentences flow smoothly; his sense of rhythm is perfect and he never misses a note.
Sep 22, 2007 Catherine rated it really liked it
This collection is uneven, but there are a few stunning stories that make it a worthwhile read. Bass's use of the first person is deceptively simple but takes on a mythic quality. Very authoritative and you can easily lose yourself in the landscapes and characters he writes about. The title story is heartbreaking.
Dec 05, 2011 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Each story that Bass writes has its own unique touch to it, though they each have a similar setting. It is this quality that makes each one a joy to read... narrative descriptions of different facets of life in the same place. 'Fires' and 'Swamp Boy' stood out for me, in particular.
Feb 18, 2013 Dave rated it it was amazing
Rick Bass is responsible for some of the most evocative, lyrical, and often muscular-without-being -turgid-or-macho prose today. 'The History of Rodney' alone is worth the price of admission. People who like Cormac McCarthy ought to try reading a *real* writer in Rick Bass.
Tattered Cover Book Store
This book was recomended by novelist and book editor Jenny Shank as part of the Rocky Mountain Land Library's "A Reading List For the President Elect: A Western Primer for the Next Administration."
Feb 16, 2007 meredith rated it liked it
Shelves: shortfiction
A very good book, but sometimes it seems to lose its way in heavy-handed attempts at the, um...esoteric? I found that at times the stories were a bit to conscious of themselves, if that makes any sense.
Aug 17, 2009 Luke rated it really liked it
Was curious to see that he gives a shout out to Jim Harrison on the dedication page and then proceeds to write ever constricting circles around him. Bass is so the writer that Harrison secretly wishes he was.
Nov 13, 2013 Aimee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book. The Watch is also one of my favorites, and it was interesting to revisit Kirby in Houston. If there was a fire at my house, I'd grab all my Rick Bass books first.
Jul 07, 2011 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy a good short story every now and again. And these were good short stories. But not great short stories--because they still made me wish they were full novels.
Marjorie Hudson
Nov 18, 2012 Marjorie Hudson rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorite books that link character and place, mostly in the west. Gorgeous prose.
Jacob Andra
Sep 21, 2011 Jacob Andra rated it really liked it
Vivid, dream-like and visceral, each story in this collection leaves a lasting impression!
May 20, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Rick Bass short stories and their descriptions of the natural world.
carl  theaker
Apr 05, 2010 carl theaker rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction

Mostly thoughtful stories, tries a little too hard to make
a tale 'catchy' at times.
Mar 15, 2010 Justin rated it really liked it
If you want to learn how to write setting in a short story, read this book.
Jan 15, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing
I love Rick Bass.

That said, he is at his best in his short fiction.
Jan 01, 2009 Andrea rated it really liked it
Lovely stories, as usual.
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Rick Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Houston, the son of a geologist. He studied petroleum geology at Utah State University and while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi, began writing short stories on his lunch breaks. In 1987, he moved with his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes Bass, to Montana’s remote Yaak Valley and became an active environmentalist, wo ...more
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