cover image Oil Notes: A Narrative

Oil Notes: A Narrative

Rick Bass. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16.45 (172pp) ISBN 978-0-395-48675-7

The young man invites his girlfriend to a picnic lunch: he takes her to the park, plugs his microwave oven into a lamp standard by the tennis courts, and provides her favorite sandwich. Bass, author of The Deer Pasture and award-winning short stories, displays equal imagination and intelligence in these journal-form entries. Relating oil with life--certain that neither will last forever--he reflects on his relationships with his family and his work. Bass tells us how a landowner gets paid for an oil well; he discusses state laws for the gas and oil industry (``brutally fair'') and introduces a drill crew. He rescues a pair of abandoned puppies from the roadside, spends a weekend well-sitting. With the awareness and eye of a naturalist and a writer's gift with language, he offers a low-key, upbeat work that celebrates youthful energy and optimism. (July)