Sunday, September 11, 2011
River Ruminations: Short stories by Rick Bass
There's something captivating about rivers - the sheer force and beauty of them, the ability they have to offer us new beginnings or bring tragic endings. Rivers feature prominently in so many books, symbolic of change, the passage of time, and the power of nature over man. I've read several books over the last few years in which a river is a central feature, for example, Ron Rash's Saints at the River and Bonnie Jo Campbell's Once Upon a River. Rick Bass' Platte River is comprised of three short stories which include rivers in the landscape, and yet, the rivers seemed to be more ancillary than central to each story. While each tale had some beautiful images, for example, people skating along a melting river under the moonlight and jumping over sections where the water had melted, I just couldn't really get lost in the atmosphere of Bass' stories. Bass' imagery is well-written, but the characters fell flat and the currents of the rivers weren't strong enough for me.