The Wild Marsh
The Wild Marsh
Four Seasons at Home in Montana
By Rick Bass
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780547055169, 384pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2009
It is full of rich observation about what it takes to live in the valley -- ruggedness, improvisation and, of course, duct tape. The Wild Marsh is also tremendously poignant, especially when Bass reflects on what it means for his young daughters to grow up surrounded by the strangeness and wonder of nature. He shares with them the Yaak's little secrets -- where the huckleberries are best in a dry year, where to find a grizzly's claw marks in an old cedar -- and discovers that passing on this intimate local knowledge, the knowledge of home, is a kind of rare and valuable love.
Bass emerges not just as a writer but as a father, a neighbor, and a gifted observer, uniquely able to bring us close to the drama and sanctity of small things, ensuring that though the wilderness is increasingly at risk, the voice of the wilderness will not disappear.
“Classic in form, the journal of a year in an old loved place, The Wild Marsh is a lovingly-wrought chronicle from a writerly soul that has found its spot in the world: the one-of-a-kind Yaak Valley of northwestern Montana. Sure-footed in his approach whether topic is a forest fire in his font yard or the excitement of the first tiny cheerful glacier lilies in spring, Rick Bass is a stirring companion on the trail that leads west from the Walden Pond of Henry David Thoreau and the Sand County of Aldo Leopold.” —Ivan Doig, author of The Whistling Season
"[T]he author anchors his celebration of nature’s elegant order with his rhapsodic relationship to the wild marsh outside his writing cabin, and the uncompromising wilderness it represents." —STARRED, Publishers Weekly
"Bass, grounding his book in science well, takes the facts and transforms them, as a musician transforms musical notes, into a work of great beauty. This walk through a year is a walk through the author’s soul, filled with passions, dreams, fears, and the exuberance of Walt Whitman." —Library Journal
"A welcome installment in Bass’s ongoing place-centered autobiography." —Kirkus
"A wonderfully poetic, evocative homage to a wilderness most of us will never see." —STARRED, Booklist