By Matthew Marroquin
The Watch is a collection of fictional short stories created by Rick Bass. This collection was Bass’ debut into his literary career and was originally published in July of 1989. Rick Bass is Texas born and has moved around the south to the west to such states as Mississippi and Montana. He uses the places he has lived and visited as main settings in his story. His fictional writing has won him numerous awards.
The Watch is made up of 10 distinct short stories such as: “Mexico,” “The Watch,” “Redfish,” and “In Ruth’s Country.” Out of all the stories only two intertwined using the same characters in a different timeline, a different part of their lives. This happens to be the first story, “Mexico,” and the last one, “Redfish.” I enjoyed this part of the collection for it gives it a full circle type of effect, ending with the characters one started with. Another part of Bass’ writing that I enjoyed is his description. In “Mexico” the main character describes how he enjoys coming out of the pool, “the way it slips down my calves, around and behind to the insides, down over the heels, splattering.” He depicts how the waters flows off of one when getting out. Another part that uses great description to depict the setting is “In Ruth’s Country, “... we would watch the purple part of the dusk rising up out of the dry valley, moving toward us, covering the desert like a spill.” This was describing the beauty in Utah during the sunset. His time living in multiple different states must aid in his ability to so accurately describe such scenes.
Overall, I believe this collection held great depiction of scenes and description, and even some nice character development, but the stories seemed a bit too over the place for me to handle. I can see where many would enjoy this book, and you will enjoy this book if you like wild, sporadic, stories, but the conflict did not appear immediately and many of the sections within the stories felt like filler. This book has hundreds of wonderful reviews, so try it, even if I, a single reader, am not a fan.