(From the publisher):
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 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 outside world by one road in the summer, and cut off completely in winter, has attracted some extraordinary people who have had a little trouble living in that outside world: Davey, the ex-bronc-rider who owns the bar; Amy, with a fondness for beer and Jesus, who conceives almost immaculately with Old Dudley; Amy's son Colter, who finds the valley too tame and wants to take off for wilder places; Joshua the coffinmaker, who'll bury you in your favorite animal: for old Helen, Matthew's adoptive mother, he makes a giant wooden eagle.
Original title: Where the Sea Used to Be
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction