Novelist Richard Ford kills Connemara creatures

27 Nov

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Extracts from “Takedown of a sensitive deerslayer”, Book Worm column, Irish Independent, Saturday 8th November 2014

American novelist Richard Ford rents a house in Connemara every Autumn and spends a good deal of time there shooting Woodcock which apparently is a “treasured pastime”.

I learned this information from Observer literary editor Robert McCrum, who recently visited the acclaimed 70-year-old fiction writer at his West of Ireland retreat – a sanctuary where Ford “can revel in the independence of solitude and look forward to getting out his gun.”

Coincidentally, after reading this interview, I took up James Wolcott’s collection of essays, Critical Mass, and came upon a 1989 piece on Ford which began with the observation that “He-man American writers have a heavy appetite for ammo” and went on to quote Ford himself, telling an interviewer “I don’t walk. I hunt. Something dies when I stroll around outside.”

Wolcott’s piece, originally written for Vanity Fair, is what Americans term a “takedown”…As for Wolcott himself, “I’ve never wanted Bambi’s mother on my conscience. When I walk in the woods, I’m content to look.”

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