by Erlend Loe

This lovely story of man and elk had me charmed right from the start. Doppler may be well endowed in the lower regions but his head is full of thought.


My father is dead.
And yesterday I took the life of an elk.
What can I say?
It was either her or me. I was starving. I’m beginning to get quite thin, I really am. The night before, I was down in the Maridalen district of Oslo and helped myself to some hay from one of the farms. I cut open one of the bales with my knife and filled my rucksack. Then I slept for a bit, and at daybreak I went down to the ravine east of camp and spread out the hay as bait in a place I had long considered perfect for an ambush. Afterwards I lay on the side of the ravine and waited for several hours. I knew there were elk there. I’d seen them. They’ve even been right up by the tent. They lumber around here on the ridge apparently following their own rational impulses. Always on the move, elk are. They seem to think all other pastures are greener. And perhaps they are right.
Translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw


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