Caribou Island: A Novel [David Vann] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. The opening passages of David Vann’s swift and beautifully written first novel, “ Caribou Island,” introduce Gary and Irene, a long-married. Thomas Marks on a remarkable novel about identities stifled by the Alaskan freeze, Caribou Island by David Vann.

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Monday 31 December The characters are poorly delineated, and as a consequence they lack depth and emotional richness. It was only the way it seemed right now, during a bad time.

His writing is solid and davidd — almost like diving into an Alaskan lake. Her greatest fear, as she senses him moving away from her, is being left loveless and alone, as she was when her mother died.

A perfect storm gaining momentum. I gave it one star becasue the descriptions of the landscape were well written. This doesn’t make it difficult to tell who is advid, but it does diminish the sense of the characters as active participants in the story.

I first have to ding the jacket blurb for being off-base. The story was so powerful as a whole—it was irreducible.

Caribou Island by David Vann | Review | Books | The Guardian

Gary is a restless sort, he has many grand plans and ideas but very few ever come to fruition, particular the fruition he dreams of. This book tells the story of vqnn men and women of Fighter Command who worked tirelessly in air bases scattered throughout Britain to thwart the Nazis.


Clearly, Gary is still trying to flee whatever made him flee his dissertation in medieval studies in Berkeley and settle in Alaska. View all caribku comments. The characters so internal, the setting so riveting and used as so much more than a reflection of its characters. The primary actors in Caribou Island are a late-middle-aged couple, Gary and Irene.

Caribou Island

It would be magnificent On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, a marriage is unraveling. I knew throughout the book that there was going to be this inevitable conclusion, but yet I was still shocked to read it, and sad too, but only for Irene and Rhoda. Nature complies by blanketing everything with a storm seemingly designed to add an atmosphere of desolation like a fog surrounding all.

His writing has the density, the economy of a short story.

Are they perhaps only making the same mistakes her parents had? Had they just arrived from their native California with dreams of an Alaskan cabin, perhaps, but they had already lived in this remote place, had dealt with isalnd realities of this harsh environment, for thirty years.

The choices had already been made. The author explores the links between memory and myth, the gray area between real and idea, davkd notion of identity, and the truth of self-deception.

Caribou Island by David Vann: review – Telegraph

His previously published work, Legend of a Suicidewas a critically acclaimed collection of short stories. Gary, after a lifetime of dissatisfaction and a constant “mild, background terror of how he’d get through the day”, has taken it into his head to move himself and Irene into a homemade cabin on the eponymous island. I hold pictures in my mind of Alaska, cold, desolate, dangerous, and of Rhoda.


Minor characters such as their taciturn, alienated son, Mark move through the novel and accelerate the anxiety and self-destruction of this quartet of refractory souls.

From the moment we meet Ire Alaska felt like the end of the world, a place of exile.

Caribou Island by David Vann: review

Not a single word or event or picture painted in my mind was wasted or frivolous. They unconsciously use their mates to mirror and shadow what is desired, lost, forgotten, or never was.

I wondered whether his first full-length novel would capture the magic and raw energy of that astonishing book. It’s been a very long time since I waded through anything so useless, with no redeeming value. What Gary resents is his life with Irene who was a safe choice. Un llibre sobre vides engegades a rodar, sobre els sentiments intrincats on s’aguanten les relacions afectives i familiars, sobre veritats i mentides. What is it that makes people stay there letting the isolation that they dabid become their undoing?