Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly 33:1 (Winter 2013)
Known typically as a writer from Texas and Montana, or simply as one of the greatest contemporary American environmental writers, Rick Bass can certainly be considered “a writer of the greater Great Plains,” the region stretching from the prairie near the Gulf of Mexico to the Rocky Mountain foothills of the inland Northwest. The twelve essays collected in A Thousand Deer span the twenty-year period from 1991 to 2011, with most of them having appeared in such publications as Texas Monthly or Texas Parks and Wildlife during the past decade. One piece, “The Silent Language,” is published in this book for the first time. Whether focusing on the author’s childhood in Houston, or on his life as a father and husband, writer and hunter, in northwestern Montana, these stories and meditations explore the resonance of place in our memory and imagination. Many of these essays describe what Bass and his family call the “Deer Pasture” (hearkening back to the title of the author’s first book, which came out in 1985), the name itself a joking reference to the pastureless, rocky landscape of the Texas Hill Country, where the family has hunted deer and turkeys for several generations.