The Lives of Rocks by Rick Bass
For such a well-reviewed book, this short story collection was extremely disappointing. The stories, though they contain lyricism and apt descriptions, were naive, as if written by a first-year MFA. Nearly each of the ten stories contained some element that was far-fetched, hard to believe, or simply unnecessary or out of place. It's as if they were written by someone just new to the craft and exploring what he can make happen in a story. Either that, or they read as autobiographical, but no less far-fetched. The kind of stories that would be defended by "Well, that's how it happened."
Rick Bass has a name that carries with it some credibility and so coming to this collection with a high expectation and anticipation, I was extremely let down. Let me not discount Bass's ability to put together strong sentences, vivid descriptions, all filled with content that demonstrates his wide ranging knowledge. I only wish he'd been coached some on shaping the stories into what they could have been.