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Ron Charles…there's no shortage of dreary tales, but Vann isn't writing in that popular school of static despair. Despite the crushing sorrow of Caribou Island, it progresses with tremendous momentum. Inspired by the experience of his stepmother's parents, this 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.
—The Washington Post