Across the fire, Riga was binding a struggling deer with his usual brutal, callous efficiency.

Why does the author use the word efficiency here? I use Cambridge Dictionary and it says "efficiency" means

the good use of time and energy in a way that does not waste any

Does it literally mean that Riga was binding the deer without wasting energy and time? What is "brutal, callous efficiency"? I feel that I missed something. Please analyse that context for me.


The phrase could have be written as "with his usual efficiency." which just says Riga has some skills and does not waste effort - just as your dictionary said. However, the author wants to emphasise Riga's lack of feeling. He is binding the animal without concern for any pain or distress he causes.

  • Contrast the scene with a hospital's emergency department, where the staff would handle an accident victim efficiently but also with compassion. Mar 11 at 13:19
  • Thank you @KateBunting, that is a great comparison.
    – AdrianHHH
    Mar 11 at 17:44
  • Did you mean 'lack of feeling'? Mar 11 at 20:10
  • Good catch @MichaelHarvey, thank you for pointing that out.
    – AdrianHHH
    Mar 11 at 21:24

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