Excerpt from Bay of Souls by Robert Stone, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Bay of Souls

by Robert Stone

Bay of Souls
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2003, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Poor bastard," Alvin said.

"You’re lucky," Norman said. "Lucky he didn’t look up and shoot you. A local. Probably needs the meat."

Michael wiped his lenses with a Kleenex. "You’re breaking my heart."

"Revenge on the underclass," Norman said. "Nothing like it."

"Oh, come on," said Michael. "Don’t be so fucking high-minded."

"We all enjoy it," Norman said. Then he said, "You know, more game wardens get killed in the line of duty than any other law-enforcement officer?"

For a while they talked about populism and guns and militiamen. They had fallen silent in the dimming light when Alvin put a delaying hand on Michael’s arm. Everyone stopped where they stood. There were deer, four of them, an eight-point buck and three females. One of the females looked little older than a yearling. The deer were drinking from the icy river, upstream, upwind. The three men began to ease closer to the stream, where a bend would provide them a clear line of fire. The deer were something more than thirty-five yards away. Michael tried shuffling through the snow, which was topped with a thin frozen layer, just thick enough ice to sound underfoot. He stepped on a frozen stick. It cracked. One of the does looked up and in their direction, then returned to her drinking. Finally, they came to a point beyond the tree line and looked at one another.

The target of choice would be the big buck. If they were after meat, the does, even the youngest, were legal game. The buck was splashing his way to the edge of deep water. In a moment all four of the deer tensed in place, ears up. A doe bent her foreleg, ready to spring. There was no more time. Everyone raised his weapon. Michael, without a scope, found himself sighting the shoulder of the buck. It was a beautiful animal. Magical in the fading light. Things change, he thought. Everything changes. His finger was on the trigger. When the other men fired, he did not. He had no clear idea why. Maybe the experience of having a man in his sights that day.

The buck raised his head and took a step forward. His forelegs buckled, and he shifted his hindquarters so that somehow his hind legs might take up the weight being surrendered by his weakening body. Michael watched the creature’s dying. It was always hard to watch their legs give way. You could feel it in your own. The pain and vertigo.

"If he falls in that stream," Norman said, "he’ll float halfway to Sioux City."

But the animal staggered briefly toward the bank and toppled sidewise into the shallows. The does vanished without a sound.

"Did you take a shot?" Norman asked Michael. Michael shook his head.

Examining the kill, they found two shotgun wounds close to the animal’s heart.

"Guess we both got him," Norman said.

"He’s yours," said Alvin Mahoney. "You shot first."

Norman laughed. "No, man. We’ll have the butcher divide him. Three ways."

Michael helped drag the dead deer by its antlers out of the water.

"Anybody want to mount that rack?" Norman asked.

"I don’t think my wife would live with it," Michael told him.

"I wouldn’t care to myself," Norman said. "Anyway, it’s not trophy size."

They were only a short distance from the canoe, but it was dark by the time they had hauled the deer aboard. Paddling upriver, they came to the place where Michael had dropped his flashlight overboard. The beam was still soldiering on, illuminating the bottom of the stream.

They secured the buck to the hood of the Jeep and set out for the state highway. This time they did not stop at the Hunter’s Supper Club but drove all the way to Ehrlich’s to get the deer tagged. When they had finished the forms for Fish and Game, they went into the restaurant and sat down to dinner. Mahoney was the designated driver and abstained from drink. He would, Michael thought, make up for it at home. He and Norman had Scotch, but it was not nearly as good as the Willoughby’s. Then they ordered a pitcher of beer.

Copyright © 2003 by Robert Stone. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.