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Bass, Rick.

ISBN 10: 0395770157 / ISBN 13: 9780395770153
Published by Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. dj, 1998
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SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. Montana based author's first full-length novel, dealing with the conflicts between development and wilderness. SIGNED on the title page. Near fine in a near fine dustjacket (price-clipped dj, a tight and straight copy.). Bookseller Inventory # 34387

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. dj

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


The first full-length novel by one of our finest fiction writers, Where the Sea Used to Be tells the story of a struggle between a father and his daughter for the souls of two men - his proteges, her lovers. Old Dudley is a Texan whose religion is oil, and in his fifty years of searching for it he has destroyed a dozen good geologists, "crushing them to dust by manipulating their own desires against them." His most recent victim is Matthew, his daughter Mel's sometime lover, who grew up in Swan Valley in Montana, where Mel has been living and studying wolves for twenty years. The valley is Old Dudley's albatross. He and Matthew have drilled nineteen dry holes there, and sensing that Matthew is burning out, Dudley sends in a new geologist, Wallis. Seduced by the valley and by Mel, Wallis discovers the dark mystery of Dudley's life, yet he cannot escape the old man's grip. As in all Rick Bass's fiction, both the land and the characters are unforgettable. Swan Valley, connected to the out


Rick Bass has already proved himself to be a master of the short form, producing both stellar fiction (In the Loyal Mountains) and eloquent polemical pieces (The Book of Yaak). The loose and baggy expanse of the novel, however, is new terrain for him. In an interview, Bass described his struggles with Where the Sea Used to Be, which involved 14 years of intermittent labor and thousands of discarded pages. Reading the book, it's easy to see why. Bass's first novel is a massive work. Encapsulating motifs from his entire career, it revolves around an elaborate love triangle (or perhaps quadrangle), the permutations of which would take a short pamphlet to describe. On the most basic level, however, there's Old Dudley, a crusty petroleum geologist; his daughter Mel, who's spent the last two decades studying wolves in Montana's Swan Valley; Matthew, a former protégé of Dudley's; and Wallis, Dudley's current protégé, who he's sent to the valley in search of oil, oil, and more oil.

Given Mel's conservationist bent and her father's expoitative one--not to mention the usual family baggage--it's no surprise that these two are antagonists. There are also Oedipal fireworks galore, as the two younger men alternately resist and succumb to Dudley's long-distance manipulations. But more to the point, Where the Sea Used to Be is a novel about clashing obsessions: personal, spiritual, and environmental. Occasionally this works to the story's detriment, as one character after another speechifies on behalf of his or her bête noir. (The author, too, is guilty on this count, having inserted a number of italicized lectures into the text.) But despite this flaw, and the sometimes creaky machinery of the plot, Where the Sea Used to Be offers an abundance of riches--not the least of them being Bass's patented, time-lapse lyricism: "The moose walked off into the trees--disappeared into the branchy whispers of fir, pine, and spruce, fitting back into the woods like an arrow passing between two ribs. A mist of snow trickled from one of the branches where the moose had gone--it caught the moonlight and glittered as it fell--and then there was no sign. The woods sealed back in around her." Nobody is more persuasive when it comes to describing a place, along with the animals--human and otherwise--who occupy it.

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Store Description - the name used by Volk and Iiams, Booksellers- specializes in first editions of twentieth century literature, with an emphasis on women authors, African American, Native American and Latin American authors - plus mystery & detective fiction, science fiction & fantasy, poetry and children's & illustrated books. We try to offer many uncommon books, and have a large selection of first books, and books by authors who are less frequently collected. Of the approximately 50,000 volumes in stock, the majority are hardcover first editions, although we also stock vintage science fiction paperbacks as well as sf digests and pulps. We also have a large selection of books signed by the author and uncorrected proof copies. Less than 50% of our stock is catalogued, so please inquire if you are searching for specific titles. Selling books by mail order and on the internet since 1993. We have a large booth dedicated to books (called Books Upstairs) at the Antiques Upstairs Mall, 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA. (open every day from 10-5) The emphasis there is on Western Americana, children¿s books and inexpensive reading copies. In 1998 we relocated our main business from Sacramento to the Sierra foothills of Amador County, about 35 miles east of downtown Sacramento and between Ione & Sutter Creek. There, on 10 acres of rolling oak-covered hills, we built a ¿bookhouse¿ for our books. When we are there, we welcome visitors by appointment (call 209-274-6960 or, in the US only, toll free at 1-877-bookfev or contact us by email Our web page is Traditional bookseller grading used - fine is our highest grade (an "A"), very good is above average (a "B), good is average (a "C"). All significant flaws are described; dust jackets are protected by archival covers, and books are packed carefully for shipping. We welcome questions by email or phone.

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Terms of Sale: is a partnership between Christine Volk and Eugene Iiams, Booksellers. Our mailing address is PO Box 696, Ione CA 95640 USA. Our store is located at 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA 95642 USA. Email: Phone: 209-274-6960. We accept Mastercard, Visa AMEX, Discover, checks or Paypal, whichever is most convenient for customers. Please contact us if you have any questions, or want to confirm availability. All dustjackets are in archival mylar covers, and books are packed ...

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Shipping includes insurance and/or delivery confirmation when appropriate. All dust jackets are covered with archival protectors. All books are PACKED CAREFULLY; we are also happy to gift wrap books (FREE) upon request, and to ship them with just a card. Prices shown include media mail shipping in the US and California sales tax, when required. An online bookseller since 1993, on ABE since 1997! While occasionally a book sells out, we only list books which we have in stock, and ready to ship. NOTE our low INTERNATIONAL RATES - Please do not hesitate to contact us to confirm availability or with any questions - we can be reached at or toll-free in the USA at 877*266*5338 (bookfev) or outside the US at 209*274*6960. Reciprocal terms offered to the trade on direct orders only. Libraries and other institutions may request to be invoiced.

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