Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wanting to Read David Vann's Caribou Island

It seems rare anymore that I can here an interview with an author and read a review of his book and know then that I really want to read the book. This has happened with David Vann's Caribou Island.

I heard Michael Silverblatt's interview with Vann and was extremely interested. And then the reviews kept coming. I even sat down in my local Tattered Cover and read the first chapter just last week.

The story centers on a man who is obsessed on building a house on an island in already-remote-enough Alaska. From the wife's persepctive, the novel deals with dark subject matter--one of its appeals for me--including suicide. The pain and frustration that exists in the story, the desires and obsessions, and the let-downs, all served to make my very interested in the novel.

My reading list, though, is long. And it feels like a shame to cheat on all the unread books on my shelves to bypass them and go out and buy and then read something brand new. What about all of those classics I still need to read? The recent award winners? The Franzen novel I'm trying to get through now? So many things around me are begging to be read, but it won't stop me from pushing, here, a book that sounds to me worth the time--despite everything else in the queue.

Just some of the reviews of Vann's Caribou Island:
LA Times - "Darkness and loneliness in Alaska, woven into a compulsively readable story."
Telegraph UK - "Caribou Island is as bleak as the shoreline of the brooding Skilak Lake"
Guardian UK - "at his best, Vann is a forceful, potent writer"
SF Gate - "gives us a climax as haunting and realized as any in recent fiction."
NY Times - "gets to places other novels can’t touch."
Seattle Times - "won't do much for Alaska tourism."
New Yorker - "The harsh beauty of Alaska is the star turn in Vann's disturbing novel."

And the excerpt you really should read: Browse Inside Caribou Island: A Novel

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