We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

The Lost Woods


H. William Rice

Publication Year: 2014

The Lost Woods is a collection of fifteen short stories, most of them set in and around the fictional small town of Sledge, South Carolina. The events narrated in the stories begin in the 1930s and continue to the present day. The stories aren’t accounts of hunting methods or legends of trophy kills—they are serious stories about hunting that are similar in style to William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses. The collection traces the evolution of two families—the Whites and the Chapmans— as well as the changes in hunting and land use of the past eighty years. Some of these stories are narrated in third person; others are told by a wide range of characters, from grown men to women and children, but only from one perspective—that of the hunter. As they walk the woods in search of turkey, deer, or raccoons, these characters seek something more than food. They seek a lost connection to some part of themselves. The title “the lost woods” is adapted from Cherokee myths and stories wherein man must return again and again to the woods to find the animals that were lost. Thereby, man finds not only food, but who he is. Through these stories, Rice reminds us that hunting is inextricably intertwined with who we are. As one of the oldest rituals that we as a species know, it reflects both our nobility and our depravity. Through it, we return again and again to find the lost woods inside ourselves.

Published by: University of South Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (478.7 KB)
pp. i-vi


pdf iconDownload PDF (415.0 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (473.0 KB)
pp. ix-x

...influence of various friends on my work and on my evolving understanding of the woods: my old friend and colleague Wilson Hall; my camping buddy and the fisherman I hope to be someday, Mark DeSommes; my oldest friend and first colleague, Rodney Allen. I also acknowledge my wife, Ansley, for her support...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (492.0 KB)
pp. 1-6

...Two years later, when I killed my first squirrel with that same gun, I felt as if I had completed the process that began on that cold morning. I had connected to something deep inside me that had no name, a connection that only blood could allow. The time in which human beings have lived among twelve-lane freeways and tall buildings, buying their meat...

read more

The Deer Hunt

pdf iconDownload PDF (503.5 KB)
pp. 7-15

...silhouetted in the sinking sun. It was a clear November evening, and soon the trees would be bare, their skeletal arms outlined against the mountainside and the horizon. But on this evening, they could still see splashes of brown and even orange and yellow among the straggler leaves that still...

read more

Stalking Glory

pdf iconDownload PDF (497.3 KB)
pp. 16-22

...The men were standing around the frame, a huge structure made of twelve-by-twelve cedar beams. Two of the beams were cemented in the ground, and a third was mortised into the tops of the other two. There was a crude pulley system set up on the crossbeam for hoisting the deer carcass and a concrete pad underneath that could be washed off. But this November evening, the deer were all cleaned, and the whole area had been washed down. The men stood smoking...

read more

The General

pdf iconDownload PDF (568.3 KB)
pp. 23-35

...Well, it was a shame because by now the General was getting on to be about three, and he had established quite a reputation in Yellow Bluff and Sledge. All the hunters knew who he was and had heard stories about him. And now that he was taken out of general circulation for a number of years, there was no real way for anyone to verify any of what...

read more

Slick’s Conversion

pdf iconDownload PDF (521.2 KB)
pp. 36-48

...Slick takes a quick drag off his filterless Camel and continues as he lets the smoke drift out his mouth and nose: “Goodly portion of it had been the old Ramsey place. Old man Ramsey lost ever’thing trying to keep a farm going in the 1920s and just flat give up and took to the bottle. The family held onto the land somehow, not really doing...

read more

The Honor and Glory of Hunting I—Luke

pdf iconDownload PDF (514.3 KB)
pp. 49-59

...night nor day. He never bothered to tell us which one of us was night and which was day and which one neither one, but I think I know. I was the middle one, and I was nothing like either one of my brothers or my father. I took after mother—quiet, shy, too patient for my own good. I was neither night nor day—just something nobody could explain...

read more

The Honor and Glory of Hunting II—Clyde

pdf iconDownload PDF (515.6 KB)
pp. 60-70

...something that my father would later identify as “mountain cur.” He was solidly built with a broad chest and floppy ears like a hound dog. When I grabbed the crate at the airport, he snarled at me. So we got the airport shipping men to load him into the back of the truck, planning not to take him out...

read more

End of a Season

pdf iconDownload PDF (504.8 KB)
pp. 71-79

...He was plump, pimply, and he saw very few beautiful women in his small-town world. But there was one who sometimes rode the school bus. She was a teacher and a single mother. She wore her hair in a French twist, and though she was well into middle age, she retained something of those sensual curves that the boy could have...

read more

The Longing

pdf iconDownload PDF (509.3 KB)
pp. 80-89

...of women, but old enough to think about them all the time. So though I had never really pursued women with much success, I had done plenty of looking and imagining. So when she showed up at church, I sized her up. It is one of those terrible habits that we men have. You rank the women your age as either hopelessly beyond your reach, within your reach, or someone you are just not interested in...

read more

My Uncle’s Dogs

pdf iconDownload PDF (535.9 KB)
pp. 90-99

...He fell right where he was—two feet out the back door heading out to feed his dogs—the old orange-ticked English setter bitch named Sam (short for Samantha) and the Brittany puppy Harlan. When my grandmother found him, the dogs were sitting on each side of him as silent as monks. Even after she called the ambulance and the EMTs got there and began working to start my uncle’s heart...

read more

Uncle Ivory

pdf iconDownload PDF (508.4 KB)
pp. 100-109

...relation. But I know he was related to us some kind of way, though he was a Wilson. And that his real name was Ivor and that we called him Uncle Ivory because nobody ever heard of a real person named Ivor. It sounded like some count or something. And I know that he had the finest bird dogs anybody had ever seen and that he knew how...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (513.6 KB)
pp. 110-120

...where the dog is and if he’s barking or looking up like he would be if he treed. So these rednecks go off and drink beer or smoke pot or watch television—whatever the hell they do. And then when the control unit tells ’em that the dogs have treed, they get their guns and go after the bear. All they want’s the gall bladder. Sometimes they’ll...

read more

The Lost Antlers

pdf iconDownload PDF (501.6 KB)
pp. 121-128

...and he was the only one who had not gotten a buck that year. Both his grown sons had gotten two each, and each of the men down at the hunting lodge had gotten at least one. Still he was buckless. He sat in his tree stand and looked across the gray winter landscape. Looked at his watch. Looked back at the woods beneath him. Looked...

read more

Call Me Bubba

pdf iconDownload PDF (502.9 KB)
pp. 129-136

...My specialty is the autumn dove hunt—there’s nothing quite like it. September and October are something to behold down here around Mobile. The heavy heat and humidity vanish as if someone flicked off a switch, and the air is cool and breezy without ever getting cold. Have you ever seen the sun going down in October on the Gulf Coast in Alabama? The land is flat so that the sunset...

read more

Gobble, Gobble

pdf iconDownload PDF (522.5 KB)
pp. 137-143

...The real-estate developer was going to build a huge subdivision. He got started on the other end over near the highway—as far away from the border to our land as he could get—and he built and sold about twenty houses. Upscale sorts. And he started feeling so good about what he was doing and counting the money he was going to...

read more

His Mark

pdf iconDownload PDF (506.3 KB)
pp. 144-152

...like the worn-smooth faces of mountain rocks. Her thick, long gray hair, gathered and tied into a loose ponytail, blows back in the autumn wind, and she keeps looking out at the road as I sit in my father’s rocker and watch her. She pulls her brown suede coat around her to shield her from the wind, then hugs herself, hands cupping...

Appendix: Family Ties—White and Chapman

pdf iconDownload PDF (484.5 KB)
pp. 153-162

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF (444.9 KB)
p. 163-163

...is the chair of the English Department at Kennesaw State University. An avid outdoorsman, he has written stories about hunting and fishing that have appeared in a number of publications, including...

E-ISBN-13: 9781611173307
E-ISBN-10: 1611173302
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611173291

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2014