Read Legend of a Suicide by David Vann Free Online
Book Title: Legend of a Suicide|
The author of the book: David Vann
ISBN 13: 9781558496729
Edition: University of Massachusetts Press
Date of issue: November 1st 2008
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 389 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.2
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When David Vann was 13 years old his father committed suicide. This book is Vann’s way of trying to reach out to his dead father, to bring him back to life in a way. Don’t expect a yuck-fest. The book is divided into five short stories and one much longer piece (175 pps).
All are told from the view, if not necessarily in the voice, of a young boy, Vann’s avatar.
In Icthyology – a father’s suicide parallels a boy’s (Roy) interest in fish and his fish tank.
Rhoda tells of the increasing strain between the boy’s father and his wife, the boy’s stepmother. The suicide is implied in this one.
Legend of a Good Man tells of how the boy tries to re-connect with one of the men his mother had dated after his father killed himself.
Vann with his father - from The Times Company
In Sukkwan Island a divorced father takes his son with him to a remote Alaskan island, intending to live there for a year. Unfortunately he brings along his emotional weakness. I thought that Vann used this one to vent some rage at his lost parent, as dad does not come off too well.
In Ketchikan a grown up Roy returns to Alaska and arranges to see a woman with whom his father betrayed his mother
The final story, Higher Blue, has Vann referring to “the boy” and “the father” a chilling distance-maker in a tale about trying to reconnect, to the memory of his father, at least.
OK, so the subject is a bit of a downer. Don’t be put off. The writing is compelling. I was drawn in, felt for the boy, and even for the hapless father. Vann’s big chunk here, Sukkwan Island, reads like Stephen King, page-turning and frightening.
It is a bit scary, as well, seeing a photo of Vann as a kid with his dad, and then noting how similar to his father the adult writer has become. That he has declined to go to therapy to help cope with the issues that arose from his true-life experiences may leave Vann with a reservoir of unresolved feeling with which to fuel his writing. But I imagine there is a personal cost as well.
Completely aside from the issue of Vann and suicide, you will also learn a bit about Alaska, the physical challenges of the state, the mentality of many of the residents, the way of life lived, or aspired-to by many people up north.
The author's website and his GR pages – his website includes, among other things, a large list of interviews
Other David Vann work I have reviewed
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Read information about the authorPublished in 19 languages, David Vann’s internationally-bestselling books have won 15 prizes, including best foreign novel in France and Spain and, most recently, the $50,000 St. Francis College Literary Prize 2013, and appeared on 70 Best Books of the Year lists in a dozen countries. He has written for the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Outside, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, The Financial Times, Elle UK, Esquire UK, Esquire Russia, National Geographic Adventure, Writer’s Digest, McSweeney’s, and other magazines and newspapers. A former Guggenheim fellow, National Endowment for the Arts fellow, Wallace Stegner fellow, and John L’Heureux fellow, he is currently a Professor at the University of Warwick in England and Honorary Professor at the University of Franche-Comté in France.
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