ROMANCE

The Black Rhinos of Namibia: Searching for Survivors in the African Desert

Houghton Harcourt. 2012. c.288p. illus. ISBN 9780547055213. $25. NAT HIST
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Prolific nature writer and novelist Bass (A Thousand Deer: Four Generations of Hunting and the Hill Country) has a devoted following, but one that will likely be disappointed by this latest effort. Here, he travels to the Namib Desert, along the western coast of southern Africa (and primarily in Namibia), to search for the black, or hooked lip, rhinoceros. Though it has the poetic descriptions and well-turned phrases readers expect from Bass, the book lacks focus—he doesn't even see his first rhinoceros until the book is halfway through. Divided into three sections, "Pastoral," "Wild," and "Dust," the work spends almost as much time reflecting on the grizzlies Bass left behind in Montana as it does on Africa and its animals.
VERDICT Readers looking for a volume about rhinos can pass on this title. Rambling and distracted, this book does not meet the high standards of Bass's other work.

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