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Goat Mountain by David Vann
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A dark, powerful and at times uncomfortable read focusing on the accidental shooting of a poacher by an 11 year old boy. The build up to this horrific but innocent act and the aftermath of such a devastating tragedy as the family close in to protect themselves, are minutely explored with the central question of the morals of hunting animals vs killing humans. Bleakly compelling.

If you like David Vann you might also like to read books by A M Homes, Tim Winton and Evie Wyld.

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Synopsis

Goat Mountain by David Vann

This is a shocking, suspenseful and daring new novel from one of the greatest American writers at work today, whose previous books include Caribou Island, Dirt and Legend of a Suicide. In David Vann's searing novel Goat Mountain, an eleven-year-old boy is eager to make his first kill at his family's annual deer hunt. But all is not as it should be. His father discovers a poacher on the land, a 640-acre ranch in Northern California, and shows him to the boy through the scope of his rifle. With this simple gesture, tragedy erupts, shattering lives irrevocably. Set over the course of one hot and hellish weekend, Goat Mountain is the story of a family struggling to contend with a terrible crime and its repercussions. David Vann creates a haunting and provocative novel that explores our most primal urges and beliefs, the bonds of blood and religion that define and secure us, and the consequences of our actions - what we owe for what we've done. Dark, disturbing and unbearably tense, this is the startling new novel from David Vann, 'one of the best writers of his generation' (Le Figaro).

Reviews

'Part of the experience of reading Vann (over time across his oeuvre, and within individual books) is a kind of uneasy curiosity about just how dark he's going to get and where he's going to go to find that darkness. This new excursion is as harrowing as anything he has written, as thrillingly desolate, in its way, as the traumatic hallucinations in Legend of a Suicide...One of the most intense and detailed examinations of an act of violence I have ever read in a work of fiction. Its unflinching realism eventually becomes a kind of nightmare surrealism. It is at once deeply disturbing and powerfully propulsive, a hallucinatory insight into what it means, and how it feels, to kill. The book is a vision of hell focused not on the supernatural, but on nature itself. Vann is a writer who hunts big game. He tracks the same wild territory as Joseph Conrad and Cormac McCarthy - the violence and perversity at the root of what we call human nature, the animal savagery that is our first inheritance...For all its unyielding darkness, Goat Mountain is, perhaps perversely, an exhilarating experience. It is, first of all, cathartic in the way of all good tragedies. But it is also exhilarating for the least perverse of reasons: the experience of reading a novelist of David Vann's rare artistry and vision.'

-Observer

'The Cain imagery is powerful and the narrator's psyche fascinating...Vann's prose never lags. The novel is not just gripping: it tightens around its reader like a boa constrictor...Goat Mountain is a brilliant and wise interrogation of a world in which We were always killing something, and it seemed we were put here to kill .'

-The Times

'Vann is a daring writer, as bold in his plot development as he is unflinching in his prose...Goat Mountain is a compelling and morally challenging novel by one of America's most powerful writers.'

-Times Literary Supplement

'Vann evokes the scrub, ridges and conifers of northern California with the meticulous eye of a great landscape artist...This story has genuine potency.'

-Sunday Telegraph

'This is Vann's fourth novel, and in that short time he's mapped out a unique fictional territory, a rugged, literary landscape with debts to Cormac McCarthy and Ernest Hemingway but with an acuteness of eye that's all the author's own...Vann's description of place and action is unsurpassed, a wonderful clarity to his prose, and the voice of his narrator is truly frightening as he tries to come to terms with what's happened. The tension builds to an extraordinary and explosive climax among the heavily forested mountains, where everything that makes us who we are is called into question. Powerful and deep stuff.'

-Big Issue

About the Author

David Vann is an internationally bestselling author whose work has been translated into nineteen languages. He is the winner of fifteen prizes, including France's Prix Medicis Etranger, Spain's Premi Llibreter, the St. Francis College Literary Prize, the Grace Paley Prize, a California Book Award, the AWP Non-fiction Prize, and France's L'Express Readers' Prize. His books - Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, Dirt, A Mile Down, and Last Day on Earth - have appeared on seventy Best Books of the Year lists in a dozen countries. A former Guggenheim Fellow, Wallace Stegner Fellow, John L'Heureux Fellow and National Endowment for the Arts fellow, he is a professor at the University of Warwick and Honorary Professor at the University of Franche-Comte, France. He has written for publications such as the Atlantic, Esquire, McSweeney's, Sunday Times, Observer, Guardian, Sunday Telegraph, Financial Times, Elle and many others. He has also appeared in documentaries for the BBC, Nova, National Geographic, and CNN. www.davidvann.com

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Book Info

Publication date

30th October 2014

Author

David Vann

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Author's Website

davidvann.com/

Publisher

Windmill Books an imprint of Cornerstone

Format

Paperback
256 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780099558750

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