A Thousand Deer: Four Generations of Hunting and the Hill Country

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Description

Softcover, 187 pages.

In November, countless families across Texas head out for the annual deer hunt, a ritual that spans generations, ethnicities, socioeconomics, and gender as perhaps no other cultural experience in the state. Rick Bass’s family has returned to the same hardscrabble piece of land in the Hill Country—“the Deer Pasture”—for more than seventy-five years. In A Thousand Deer, Bass walks the Deer Pasture again in memory and stories, tallying up what hunting there has taught him about our need for wildness and wilderness, about cycles in nature and in the life of a family, and particularly about how important it is for children to live in the natural world.

The arc of A Thousand Deer spans from Bass’s boyhood in the suburbs of Houston, where he searched for anything rank or fecund in the little oxbow swamps and pockets of woods along Buffalo Bayou, to his commitment to providing his children in Montana the same opportunity—a life afield—that his parents gave him in Texas. Inevitably this brings him back to the Deer Pasture and the passing of seasons and generations he has experienced there. Bass lyrically describes his own passage from young manhood, when the urge to hunt was something primal, to mature adulthood and the waning of the urge to take an animal, his commitment to the hunt evolving into a commitment to family and to the last wild places.

Review
The essays in A Thousand Deer flow into one another beautifully…While most hunting stories tread familiar paths of bragging or variations on Natty Bumppo, this book goes further. Exactingly observed and powerfully written, A Thousand Deer offers the richness of hunting to outsiders curious about such barbarian rituals and offers a voice for hunters who struggle to articulate the deep motives for walking frozen hills before dawn. This is a valuable contribution to nature writing, written with the intensity of a hunt. -- Daniel Clausen, Boise State University ― Isle: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment Published On: 2013-05-01


About the Author
Rick Bass is the author of twenty-seven books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Wild Marsh, Why I Came West, and The Lives of Rocks. Several of his books have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, as well as the New York Times. and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. He's been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and his short stories and essays have received O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes, and have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Travel Writing, and Best Spiritual Writing.

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