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.

1 Answer 1


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, 2021 at 13:19
  • Thank you @KateBunting, that is a great comparison.
    – AdrianHHH
    Mar 11, 2021 at 17:44
  • Did you mean 'lack of feeling'? Mar 11, 2021 at 20:10
  • Good catch @MichaelHarvey, thank you for pointing that out.
    – AdrianHHH
    Mar 11, 2021 at 21:24

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