I love Joe Pickering for sending me a signed proof of David Vann’s new novel, Caribou Island (literary *squee*). Anyone reading this site last year knows my passionate affection for Legend of a Suicide — I’ve never recommended another book quite as much as I have that one. Seriously.
Caribou Island has a lot to live up to, then. It tells the story of a couple who are trying to build a new life on a remote island — and quite shudderingly, starts with the re-telling of a suicide. We also follow the lives of their daughter and son, and the people they’re involved with.
I actually think my obsession with Legend of a Suicide has done Caribou Island a disservice. The absolute horror of the central event in Legend’s ‘Sukkwan Island’ novella made me expect something equally head-fucking, so I was reading the novel with a sort of morbid anticipation, ready to be thoroughly shocked. I’m not going to say if that does happen (the book isn’t even published till January), but I think I would have enjoyed it much, much more if I hadn’t retained such a clear picture of Legend in my head.
To me, David Vann is one of the best authors working right now. Just as I love Richard Yates’ work for his melancholic take on life in post-war America, David Vann looks to be the king of bleak Alaskan fiction. That’s quite the cheery and uplifting genre, isn’t it?
(I must be very emotionally stable to be a fan of David Vann and Richard Yates and not kill myself, I reckon.)