The Watch by Rick Bass

The Watch

In this extraordinary fiction debut, Rick Bass establishes himself in the first rank of American writers. Rooted in the creative traditions of the South, his stories introduce us to men who belong— in spirit if not always in fact— to the American outback, to the deserts of Utah, the swamps of Mississippi, the remote ranges of the Rockies. Strong and inventive, funny and lyrical, these luminous tales stir the heart with wonder as they resonate...

Details The Watch

TitleThe Watch
Release DateJun 1st, 1999
PublisherPeter Smith Publisher
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Literature, Contemporary, Environment, Nature

Reviews The Watch

  • Melanie
    ‘You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how deep’. Rick Bass is like Seamus Heaney’s spade, digging, inching toward the heart of the matter, his pen ‘snug as a gun’. His characters study the depth, vastness and immensity of their longing, with borders and limitations that are difficult to remember in the haze of desire.The stories are told with gorgeous simplicity and I just loved how the narrative darted around the place, like electr...
  • Jamie
    Sometimes I think there’s only one kind of guy I could trip and fall flat on my face for, and he has this book asleep by his bed, folded in his back pocket, faded and dog-eared in the passenger seat.Reserving the last star solely because I want to read so much more of what Bass writes.First reviewed March 2010- - -May 2012:There are a lot of books I love, but honestly, this might be my favorite of favorites. There’s nothing like the smile on ...
  • Josh
    Without question, this is my favorite group of short stories thus far. Bass' ability to suck you in these somewhat far fetched, crazed tales that somehow you know have some root of truth to his own life experiences is second to none. Unlike similarly crafted tales (Barry Hannah's Airships comes to mind) the word usage and perspectives are simplistic enough that there's no need to strain for meaning and fluid doesn't hurt your brai...
  • Kirk Smith
    A wonderful book of short stories celebrating life. I have handed out far too many fives lately, but my recent reading list has warranted it. I have to compare this to so many other story collections that are jaded and cynical, yet outstanding in their way. This book never avoids or abandons the harshness of reality, but skips around it and focuses on the better elements, the love, the small joys, the stolen freedoms. The Watch helps us realize t...
  • Natalie
    I'm pretty rusty on writing lengthy reviews. This book was so damn good that my review will never do justice. There are few books that come along that I want to savor rather than plow through, but I took my time with this one. I read only a few short stories at a time, so that they wouldn't blur together but would still impress me with the way they intertwined and kept bringing me to a familiar feeling. I sort of spent the whole time with my hear...
  • Ryan Werner
    n the debut short story collection from Rick Bass, nature and life are inseparable as they show the lengths to which people will go to not lose themselves.Set mostly in open woodland areas both literal and figurative, The Watch (W.W. Norton & Co., ISBN: 039331135X, 1989) finds Rick Bass creating landscapes, characters, and situations that are naturally flawed and dealing with it. These ten stories are certainly about the male perception of the ou...
  • Ned
    Rick Bass has hooked another, I loved it. It is modern in its jumpy imperfect thought lines and use of ordinary broken words, like real life, unafraid to be orginal. Perhaps it is because I was 29 when it was published and the stories of recklessness, kookiness and the particular American pathos of the people about my age at the time resonated. On the surface the narrator is a passive observer of the exploits of his friends, but its true male per...
  • Michael Whitaker
    Full disclosure: I am new to short story collections. I've read a ton of short stories and I've written a few, but I have never sat down to read an entire collection of stories by one author, one story after the other. So this is new for me. All in all, I greatly enjoyed "The Watch" by Rick Bass. His prose is electric in that sometimes it runs smoothly and beautifully and in the same page will skip synapses with great energy. I think, through the...
  • Chris
    The depth and array of emotions and feeling to Bass's stories is fantastic - and while I'm not generally a fan of short stories, this is really excellent. I'm a fan.
  • Will
    These stories are beautiful and disturbing, and despite this being Bass' first published collection, the writing is surprisingly poignant. His succinct use of common speech is refreshing, revealing the stories in a more natural way--one steeped in oral tradition. Even his more experimental forms ("Cats and Students, Bubbles and Abysses" for example) seem like they are driven by voice. In a way, Bass achieves a sort of mastery of dialogue where sp...
  • James
    This is a set of short stories that people seem to love without any reservation. The stories are beautifully written, almost fairy tale like in their oddness in particular the second story. All of them focus on people with an intensity in them that seems as odd as their relationship with nature. As I started reading the book I struggled to yield to the book jaded city dweller that I am, well if you can call Zurich a city, in my family nature is r...
  • Rayroy
    Five mother-fucking stars Rick Bass can write circles around most in Raymond Carver's league!
  • Tara
    This is the book that started my infatuation with Bass's work. Lyrical, highly imaginative, totally absorbing.
  • Charles Boogaard
    A book simply about people that change does not happen for them. Some do not want change others are forced not to have it. Yet some do not know anything different so continue on with the life they alway known no matter the consequences. We all know people that do not let life change them. I remember people from college who continued that life style way to long a disappeared from my radar.From the book "most of us get to the bubble finally, just i...
  • Christopher
    An exquisitely simple exploration of relationships focusing more upon people in gritty proximity to each other than upon their relationships to their landscape, which becomes Bass' predominant theme in later works. All of the stories seem effortlessly told but this collection contains what is now my favorite of all his stories I've read thus far, the title story "The Watch." If you've also read his later book, "The Sky, the Stars, and the Wildern...
  • Samuel
    Some of the stories were pretty good. Some were profoundly beautiful. His style and subject matter are deeply American; I'm not one for patriotism, but it's a very beautiful thing, his America. Full of feeling, full of life, yet somehow startlingly desolate. "Negative space" is something visual and audio artists use to their advantage quite frequently; his writing style, I feel, is the literary complement to that. The way he chooses the details t...
  • David
    Rick Bass is everything that lesser writers of short fiction wish they could be. Wildly imaginative and with phenomenal command of the language to bring it to life, Rick Bass is almost intoxicating to read. There is great beauty in these stories.
  • D
    Some amazing stories in here, not a bad one at all in the collection. "Mississippi", "Choteau", "Cats and Students, Bubbles and Abysses" and "The Government Bears" are my favorites. The more serious-toned ones are good, too, and serve well to balance out the exuberance.
  • Jennifer Fitzpatrick
    A collection of lonely stories of friendship and freedom.
  • Danica
    Why does every book I pick up these days bore me to tears?
  • J
    I had heard that the author had written some good stories, so gave this a try, the author’s first book. I read the first three including the title story. They are straightforward in their telling, but I didn’t find much meaning in them. I guess his more famous stories came later.
  • Moatad Alshammari
    It's great book i like it
  • Jessica
    Guy can write. Just wish he would write his female characters as actual three-dimensional beings.
  • Jeffrey Anthony
    This is the real deal. Rick Bass is now in my top 3 authors list. Remarkable writing!
  • Peter Gooch
    His first book of stories. Not perfect, but has numerous moments of magical writing. This book will stay with you for a long time.
  • Lauren
    This is one of my favorite short story collections. Beautiful, brilliant.
  • Sam A.
    Rick Bass' stories never fail to entertain. One of my new favorite authors.
  • Caleb
    Rick Bass' characters are ambitious, big-hearted, and have a unique lust for life. This is buried gem of a short story collection.
  • B. Mason
    Based on reviews of "The Watch" I was expecting more out of Rick Bass. There are some real deft stories in here, "Wild Horses" for instance, but overall I felt that, despite the variety of voices and narrators, that the places in which Bass sets his stories are grossly underdeveloped. In "In Ruth's Country" in particular the backdrop is the Utah desert and what could have amounted to a rich evocative description of the mesas and wild cattle roami...