The pleasure and privilege of reading Rick Bass is to see how sacred we are...The greatest joy in For a Little While is the belief, in story after story, in the goodness of all things on this earth, including us. So much can be done, there is so much to learn, if we just remember what we are.
This is nature writing that goes beyond pretty description; how the characters respond emotionally to the landscape is what makes the prose transcendent...But his greatest gift, what makes Rick Bass one of the very best writers we have, is his understanding of the soft hearts within even the hardest people.
For a Little While, offers ongoing and fresh evidence that Bass continues to be a master of the short story. More than ever, I wish I could write like him...[E]verywhere in this beautiful summary collection is a singular voice, that of Rick Bass and Rick Bass only, a writer whose early promise continues to be an enduring gift to readers. Here’s to 30 more years.
...I’d be lying if I didn’t say that reading For a Little While mostly made me wish I’d left my fond memories of Mr. Bass’s work alone. Read in bulk, his stories begin to seem soft and similar and frequently shapeless. They drain the life from each other rather than striking sparks....Stories like 'Wild Horses,' 'In Ruth’s Country,' 'Pagans' and 'Elk' more than hold up. They display clarity and heart and moral vision, and glow like a well-stoked wood stove. Still, their heat can’t warm the entire structure of this long book.
For a Little While gathers 25 of Bass’ strongest stories, including seven new tales, into a collection that should win Bass new fans while inducing his admirers to re-evaluate what they thought they knew about this versatile and sensitive writer whose fiction thrusts relentlessly fallible humans against the astounding and confounding forces of nature.
It's a profoundly satisfying collection, a plunge into rich and varied lives and landscapes. His prose is charged with a lyrical intensity rare in American fiction. The beauty of his sentences recalls the stylistic finesse of McCarthy and Willa Cather, but he does more than just write prettily. Reading Rick Bass offers the deep pleasure of reinhabiting an older world, one that's not lost so much as latent and usually unnoticed.