Mississippi Books and Writers
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A Novel by Jimmy Buffett
Little, Brown (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 031601429X)
Publication date: November 2006
Description from Publishers Weekly:
Theres a Condé Nast Traveler article fighting to get out of bestseller Buffetts first new novel in a decade, a groovily laid-back, ramblingly anecdotal, sun-soaked bit of Caribbean escapism that his Parrothead fans will relish like another chorus of “Margaritaville.” Tully Mars, a 40-ish ex-cowboy turned guide at the Lost Boys Fishing Lodge island resort, undertakes various sojourns around the Caribbean, to Mayan ruins, a jungle safari camp, a spring break bacchanal in Belize. Nothing much happens—“That day, we spent the rest of the daylight hours on the shallow waters of Ascension Bay and the lagoon amid incredible natural beauty unlike anything I had ever seen before” is about as busy as it gets—except that Tully meets a parade of colorful natives and expatriates, including a Mayan medicine man, a British commando and a 103-year-old woman who skippers a sailing schooner and wants to restore a historic lighthouse on Cayo Loco, the titular island. The characters are all hospitality entrepreneurs, and Buffett (A Pirate Looks at Fifty) also gives them shaggy-dog anecdotes, tidbits of Caribbean history and desultory life lessons to relate. There are glimmers of plot—bounty hunters, loves lost and found—but mostly Tully has little to do but savor the accommodations and atmospherics of tourist locales while the sea washes him with waves of love, happiness and maturity as infallibly as the tides. This book is as cheery and tropical as Buffets music.
—Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
By Rick Bass
Houghton-Mifflin (Hardcover, $23.00, ISBN: 0618596747)
Publication date: November 2006
Description from Booklist:
Bass draws on his geological expertise to ground his latest collection of stop-in-your-tracks short stories on a bedrock of realism only to have his wild-hearted characters race off to realms surreal and mythic. In “Pagans,” three teens use an abandoned construction crane on a polluted river to create art out of junk and test their courage. In “Goats,” two friends want to be ranchers, but their calves routinely escape. Bass meshes wit with an elegiac sensibility to capture the dark ambience of a world besieged by rampant desecration and destruction. His jittery and desperate characters struggle with desire, sorrow, and fear; intending to help each other, they are, instead, helpless. Bedeviled men and women are inextricably connected to the land, from the “treacherous shifting Yazoo clay of Mississippi” to the snowy mountains of Montana, the setting for two unforgettable linked tales about a resolute and resourceful woman, modes of survival, and the majestic cycles of existence. Embedded in each paradoxical story is Bass perception of everything from a rock to an elk, an egret, a woman, and a tree as a precious “carrier of life” on a planet graced with a “topography of spirit.” Compassionate and hard-hitting, knowledgeable and transcendent, Bass is essential.
—Donna Seaman. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.
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