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3 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Caribou Island

by

Caribou Island Cover

ISBN13: 9780061875724
ISBN10: 0061875724
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"It may be premature to identify a writer's interests as obsessions when his fictional output includes just a single collection of short stories, and now a novel; but from the first pages of Caribou Island, it is clear that David Vann has some things that he cannot get out of his head. Bleak and terrifying things, too: suicide as an act of aggression, nature's power to reflect and inspire madness, and the perverse allure of doomed endeavors." Ian Crouch, The New Republic (Read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The prize-winning author of Legend of a Suicide delivers his highly anticipated debut novel.

On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, a marriage is unraveling. Gary, driven by thirty years of diverted plans, and Irene, haunted by a tragedy in her past, are trying to rebuild their life together. Following the outline of Gary's old dream, they're hauling logs to Caribou Island in good weather and in terrible storms, in sickness and in health, to build the kind of cabin that drew them to Alaska in the first place.

But this island is not right for Irene. They are building without plans or advice, and when winter comes early, the overwhelming isolation of the prehistoric wilderness threatens their bond to the core. Caught in the emotional maelstrom is their adult daughter, Rhoda, who is wrestling with the hopes and disappointments of her own life. Devoted to her parents, she watches helplessly as they drift further apart.

Brilliantly drawn and fiercely honest, Caribou Island captures the drama and pathos of a husband and wife whose bitter love, failed dreams, and tragic past push them to the edge of destruction. A portrait of desolation, violence, and the darkness of the soul, it is an explosive and unforgettable novel from a writer of limitless possibility.

Review:

"People haunted by their own failures and lost dreams drive Vann's earnest but uneven first novel, which opens with Irene, an ailing middle-aged Alaskan woman, telling her grown daughter, Rhoda, about coming home and finding her mother 'hanging from the rafters' one day when she was 10 years old. Irene also tells Rhoda that she believes her husband, Gary, wants to leave her. Gary, 'a champion of regret,' wanted to be an academic, but ekes out a living fishing and building boats while planning a self-imposed exile with Irene on an island in Alaska's Skilak Lake, where he's building a crude log cabin. Rhoda envisions marital bliss with her boyfriend, Jim, a philandering, selfish dentist. Their internal monologues rage with ideas and desires that read like authorial conceits, not the thoughts of real people. The only true character is Alaska itself, and Vann, author of the story collection Legend of a Suicide, is at his best depicting the harsh, rugged landscape of the Alaskan wilderness. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"Vann's brilliance lies in his willingness to expose all....Desolate, violent, heartbreaking....A striking novel filled with the violence borne of a bitter life." Globe and Mail (Toronto)

Review:

"A striking novel filled with the violence borne of a bitter life." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Vann, who received acclaim for his short-story collection Legend of a Suicide (2008), renders luminous prose in this haunting tale of hardened hearts and broken dreams." Booklist

Review:

"Vann delivers an authentic story, even lyrical at times. He is a writer headed for notable accomplishments. Enthusiastically recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"[T]his story of a family in southern Alaska comes to us in a series of vibrant moments as bracing, invigorating and finally as deadly as the icy water that surrounds these characters." Washington Post

Review:

"It's rare when a fiction writer of extraordinary literary merit is equally brilliant in both the short story and novel forms. David Vann is a dazzling exception....Vann knows the darkness but he writes from the compassionate light of art. This is an essential book." Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

Review:

"[Vann] has come fully into his own voice, from the striking opening scene to the fateful final sentence....An oddly exhilarating horror story in which human demons spring from the smoke of their own disappointment and regret. Caribou Island earns Vann a seat beside the masters. A+" Sheerly Avni, San Francisco Magazine

Review:

"Compared to Caribou Island, The Road is grim-lit lite....Welcome to Vann's demon land." Ian Sansom, London Review of Books

Review:

"Vann's beautiful, spare portrait of a marriage's end casts a singular spell." People

Review:

"Arguably the first literary masterpiece to take place on the Kenai Peninsula....Like a macabre machine, the narrative ratchets ever tighter until the closing image of one final, forlorn hope that will be smashed as soon as the story-telling stops and the reader closes the book." Mike Dunham, Anchorage Daily News

Review:

"An existential page-turner and literary breakthrough....The novel's primal power, moral depth, and narrative command show the author making a big leap." Don McLeese, Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Compelling. As the plot moves toward a gruesome finale, the reader is submerged in 'slow waves of pressure, water compacting but no edge to it.'" New Yorker

Review:

"Caribou Island is a beautiful, richly atmospheric if unsettling novel, and deserves to consolidate Vann's position among America's literary high flyers." Melanie McGrath, London Evening Standard

Review:

"As bleak as an Alaskan winter, but it also wields an unforgiving, elemental power that is breathtaking to read." Doug Johnstone, Independent (UK)

Review:

"Vann summons an atmosphere of terrestrial and emotional permafrost so intense that it'll freeze your bones." Lee Randall, Scotsman

Review:

"Caribou Island builds to an horrific climax and stands as an engrossing and disturbing work of art." Alan Cheuse, NPR

Review:

"Greatness has arrived: Caribou Island is a powerful first novel of love, lust, and regret set on an island near Soldotna, a fishing town on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula....Vann slowly and quietly builds the drama toward an emotional gut-punch of an ending — think Cormac McCarthy on ice." Outside Magazine

Review:

"[Vann uses] American landscape as a metaphor to tremendous effect....Vann's brilliance as a writer lies in his willingness to expose everything....A writer to read and reread; a man to watch carefully." The Economist

Review:

"Beautifully gloomy....Compelling....[Caribou Island] triumphs in its juxtaposition of claustrophobia-inducing relationships against the forbidding vastness of our 49th state....Vann uses chiseled phrases and verb-less declarations to evoke the natural ruggedness of the setting as well as the character's emotional distress." Tyrone Beason, Seattle Times

Review:

"Bleak, beautifully written and bitterly funny....What really distinguishes Vann's work is his feel for his wintry setting....But he is, oddly, just as memorable when describing a soul-crushing afternoon at the local fish cannery." Jake Kerridge, Financial Times

Review:

"Both [Caribou Island and Legend of a Suicide] are intense tragedies set against an unforgiving landscape. Both are delivered in clear, lyric prose....Vann isn't delivering happy endings, but he is delivering life in crystalline, unforgettable prose." Robin Vidimos, Denver Post

Review:

"Vann is a poet of the animal swings between men and women struggling for the upper hand." Karen R. Long, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"Moving, powerful...Vann's people are hurtling irretrievably toward a dark outcome, and while putting the book down might save you from it, you can't stop reading, just as you can't unlearn its truths." Caitlin Roper, Los Angeles Times

Review:

"The reader's awareness of real deaths, real griefs, gives his work something of the lethal intensity of handling an unsheathed knife: at times the power is exhilarating, and at other times it cuts bloodily and to the quick." Olivia Laing, New Statesman

Review:

"Vann forces us to watch, to pay attention. He refuses to provide his characters — or us — with an easy, happy resolution. Instead, he gives us something much more valuable: an unflinching portrait of what can happen to lives when hopes and ambitions wander off, get lost, and surrender to the merciless cold." Kevin Grauke, Philadelphia Inquirer

Review:

"Vann keeps the pages turning with the skill of the best mystery novelists." Patrick Condon, Associated Press

Review:

"Caribou Island gets to places other novels can't touch....Though it wears the clothes of realism — the beautiful exactness of the language, the unerring eye for detail — it takes us someplace darker, older, more powerful than the daylit world." Kevin Canty, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Transfixing and unflinching....Full of finely realized moments....Comparison with Cormac McCarthy is fully justified." Toby Lichtig, Times Literary Supplement (London)

Review:

"Legend earned him the acclaim of being one of the best writers of his generation. His first novel is a worthy successor....Caribou Island gives us a climax as haunting and realized as any in recent fiction." Wayne Harrison, San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Expect to have to stop and think now and then as answers may be hard to find, but the questions are everywhere. Read it and be prepared to expand your mind." The Daily Post (New Zealand)

Review:

"A taut and riveting study of isolation, insanity, and violence." Bret Anthony Johnston, Men's Journal

About the Author

David Vann is a professor at the University of San Francisco. He is a contributor to Esquire, Atlantic, Men's Journal, National Geographic Adventure, the Sunday Times (London), and Outside, and the author of the bestselling memoir A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea and Last Day on Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter, Steve Kazmierczak, winner of the AWP Nonfiction Prize. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and Wallace Stegner Fellowship.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Kirsty, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Kirsty)
Terrific
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061875724
Author:
Vann, David
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
Marriage
Subject:
Alaska
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20110131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
All
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.01 in 17.78 oz
Age Level:
All

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life

Caribou Island Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Harper - English 9780061875724 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "People haunted by their own failures and lost dreams drive Vann's earnest but uneven first novel, which opens with Irene, an ailing middle-aged Alaskan woman, telling her grown daughter, Rhoda, about coming home and finding her mother 'hanging from the rafters' one day when she was 10 years old. Irene also tells Rhoda that she believes her husband, Gary, wants to leave her. Gary, 'a champion of regret,' wanted to be an academic, but ekes out a living fishing and building boats while planning a self-imposed exile with Irene on an island in Alaska's Skilak Lake, where he's building a crude log cabin. Rhoda envisions marital bliss with her boyfriend, Jim, a philandering, selfish dentist. Their internal monologues rage with ideas and desires that read like authorial conceits, not the thoughts of real people. The only true character is Alaska itself, and Vann, author of the story collection Legend of a Suicide, is at his best depicting the harsh, rugged landscape of the Alaskan wilderness. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review A Day" by , "It may be premature to identify a writer's interests as obsessions when his fictional output includes just a single collection of short stories, and now a novel; but from the first pages of Caribou Island, it is clear that David Vann has some things that he cannot get out of his head. Bleak and terrifying things, too: suicide as an act of aggression, nature's power to reflect and inspire madness, and the perverse allure of doomed endeavors." Ian Crouch, The New Republic (Read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "Vann's brilliance lies in his willingness to expose all....Desolate, violent, heartbreaking....A striking novel filled with the violence borne of a bitter life."
"Review" by , "A striking novel filled with the violence borne of a bitter life."
"Review" by , "Vann, who received acclaim for his short-story collection Legend of a Suicide (2008), renders luminous prose in this haunting tale of hardened hearts and broken dreams."
"Review" by , "Vann delivers an authentic story, even lyrical at times. He is a writer headed for notable accomplishments. Enthusiastically recommended."
"Review" by , "[T]his story of a family in southern Alaska comes to us in a series of vibrant moments as bracing, invigorating and finally as deadly as the icy water that surrounds these characters."
"Review" by , "It's rare when a fiction writer of extraordinary literary merit is equally brilliant in both the short story and novel forms. David Vann is a dazzling exception....Vann knows the darkness but he writes from the compassionate light of art. This is an essential book."
"Review" by , "[Vann] has come fully into his own voice, from the striking opening scene to the fateful final sentence....An oddly exhilarating horror story in which human demons spring from the smoke of their own disappointment and regret. Caribou Island earns Vann a seat beside the masters. A+"
"Review" by , "Compared to Caribou Island, The Road is grim-lit lite....Welcome to Vann's demon land."
"Review" by , "Vann's beautiful, spare portrait of a marriage's end casts a singular spell."
"Review" by , "Arguably the first literary masterpiece to take place on the Kenai Peninsula....Like a macabre machine, the narrative ratchets ever tighter until the closing image of one final, forlorn hope that will be smashed as soon as the story-telling stops and the reader closes the book."
"Review" by , "An existential page-turner and literary breakthrough....The novel's primal power, moral depth, and narrative command show the author making a big leap."
"Review" by , "Compelling. As the plot moves toward a gruesome finale, the reader is submerged in 'slow waves of pressure, water compacting but no edge to it.'"
"Review" by , "Caribou Island is a beautiful, richly atmospheric if unsettling novel, and deserves to consolidate Vann's position among America's literary high flyers."
"Review" by , "As bleak as an Alaskan winter, but it also wields an unforgiving, elemental power that is breathtaking to read."
"Review" by , "Vann summons an atmosphere of terrestrial and emotional permafrost so intense that it'll freeze your bones."
"Review" by , "Caribou Island builds to an horrific climax and stands as an engrossing and disturbing work of art."
"Review" by , "Greatness has arrived: Caribou Island is a powerful first novel of love, lust, and regret set on an island near Soldotna, a fishing town on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula....Vann slowly and quietly builds the drama toward an emotional gut-punch of an ending — think Cormac McCarthy on ice."
"Review" by , "[Vann uses] American landscape as a metaphor to tremendous effect....Vann's brilliance as a writer lies in his willingness to expose everything....A writer to read and reread; a man to watch carefully."
"Review" by , "Beautifully gloomy....Compelling....[Caribou Island] triumphs in its juxtaposition of claustrophobia-inducing relationships against the forbidding vastness of our 49th state....Vann uses chiseled phrases and verb-less declarations to evoke the natural ruggedness of the setting as well as the character's emotional distress."
"Review" by , "Bleak, beautifully written and bitterly funny....What really distinguishes Vann's work is his feel for his wintry setting....But he is, oddly, just as memorable when describing a soul-crushing afternoon at the local fish cannery."
"Review" by , "Both [Caribou Island and Legend of a Suicide] are intense tragedies set against an unforgiving landscape. Both are delivered in clear, lyric prose....Vann isn't delivering happy endings, but he is delivering life in crystalline, unforgettable prose."
"Review" by , "Vann is a poet of the animal swings between men and women struggling for the upper hand."
"Review" by , "Moving, powerful...Vann's people are hurtling irretrievably toward a dark outcome, and while putting the book down might save you from it, you can't stop reading, just as you can't unlearn its truths."
"Review" by , "The reader's awareness of real deaths, real griefs, gives his work something of the lethal intensity of handling an unsheathed knife: at times the power is exhilarating, and at other times it cuts bloodily and to the quick."
"Review" by , "Vann forces us to watch, to pay attention. He refuses to provide his characters — or us — with an easy, happy resolution. Instead, he gives us something much more valuable: an unflinching portrait of what can happen to lives when hopes and ambitions wander off, get lost, and surrender to the merciless cold."
"Review" by , "Vann keeps the pages turning with the skill of the best mystery novelists."
"Review" by , "Caribou Island gets to places other novels can't touch....Though it wears the clothes of realism — the beautiful exactness of the language, the unerring eye for detail — it takes us someplace darker, older, more powerful than the daylit world."
"Review" by , "Transfixing and unflinching....Full of finely realized moments....Comparison with Cormac McCarthy is fully justified."
"Review" by , "Legend earned him the acclaim of being one of the best writers of his generation. His first novel is a worthy successor....Caribou Island gives us a climax as haunting and realized as any in recent fiction."
"Review" by , "Expect to have to stop and think now and then as answers may be hard to find, but the questions are everywhere. Read it and be prepared to expand your mind."
"Review" by , "A taut and riveting study of isolation, insanity, and violence."
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