This is a non-fiction memoir.
In striking and memorable images, the author shows the reader first, a deer that died entangled in a barbed wire fence; a tiny fawn, abandoned by its mother, that died of dehydration, despite human efforts; and her children’s reaction to the heart of a deer her husband has killed. In all of this, she lays outs the fundamental paradox of hunting: reverence for the thing you kill.
As the author’s son asks her, “Mom, how come I want to hunt so much but I get sad inside at the same time?” He is still young enough to be tucked in at night.
The reader follows the author and her children as they watch the whitetail fawns grow during the spring and summer near their home in northeastern Wyoming. Along with their dog, Hondo, they walk the deer tracks. The reader sees scrapings on trees limbs from antlers and the droppings on the ground.
This piece is an example of memoir writing doing its job. It makes the reader think and feel. The expressions are eloquent without being self-conscious. The narrative avoids purple passages. Sadness and maturity come through the writing without judgment. The author poses questions to which she admits she has no answers.
According to her blurb, author Page Lambert is a co-founder of the writing organization Women Writing the West. She is the author of the memoir In Search of Kinship (in which the above memoir appeared) and the novel Shifting Stars. She teaches graduate writing courses at the University of Denver.
Title: “Deerstalking: Contemplating an Old Tradition”
Author: Page Lambert
First published: Parabola: Magazine of Myth and Tradition (The Hunter, Summer 1991)
“Deerstalking: Contemplating an Old Tradition” can be read here.
©2018 Denise Longrie