David Vann. Harper, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-212103-5
There’s a kind of sadistic integrity to this story of putrefying family life and mental breakdown in 1980s Northern California, Vann’s follow-up to last year’s Caribou Island. Galen, a relentlessly unpleasant 22-year-old loser, lives at home with his mother on a family estate slowly being smothered by the encroaching suburbs. They spend identical days after days quietly hating each other and regularly visiting a dementia-afflicted grandmother; sometimes Galen’s aunt and 17-year-old cousin come along from sheer force of habit. His aunt shares his hatred for his mother’s false cheer (and resents her for being set to inherit all the family money), while his cousin cruelly amuses herself at Galen’s poorly hidden sexual interest in her. Galen’s adolescent spirituality and odd behaviors are grating, but fairly benign until the toxic stew of pentup anger and dysfunction threatens the family’s queasy equilibrium, pushing him to a breaking point. The last third or more of the book comprise his slowly worsening descent into madness (or evil). Vann’s evocation in readers of great annoyance followed by dawning horror at his main character is smartly disorienting, allowing him to plumb sickening depths by believable degrees. Agent: Kim Witherspoon and David Forrer, Inkwell Management. (Apr. 24)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Show other formats
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-212108-0
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-434-02197-0
Hardcover - 258 pages - 978-0-09-955874-3
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4481-3480-9
Paperback - 258 pages - 978-0-06-212107-3
Ebook - 297 pages - 978-1-921921-61-2
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.