Caribou Island

Caribou Island

by David Vann
3.1 40

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Caribou Island by David Vann

“Dazzling…. 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

“Exceptional….An unflinching portrait of bad faith and bad dreams.” —Ron Rash, author of Burning Bright

Set against the backdrop of Alaska’s unforgiving wilderness, Caribou Island is David Vann’s dark and captivating tale of a marriage pulled apart by rage and regret.  With this eagerly anticipated debut novel, a masterful follow-up to his internationally bestselling short fiction anthology, Legend of a Suicide, Vann takes up the mantle of Louise Erdrich, Marilyn Robinson, and Rick Moody, delivering a powerfully wrought, enthrallingly emotional narrative of struggle and isolation.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061875731
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/03/2012
Series: P.S. Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,297,405
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Published in twenty languages, David Vann's internationally bestselling books have won fifteen prizes, including best foreign novel in France and Spain, and have appeared on seventy-five Best Books of the Year lists in a dozen countries. He's written for the New York Times, Atlantic, Esquire, Outside, Sunset, Men's Journal, McSweeney's, and many other publications, and he has been a Guggenheim, Stegner, and NEA fellow.

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Caribou Island 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
mmcandy More than 1 year ago
Not only was this book not worth reading...which coming from a reading teacher is hard to say! There were multiple errors in punctuation, missing page numbers and in several spots, it felt like pages were missing as the story did not flow... specifically the ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a dark, unhappy story. I can see why so many people did not like it. It definitely is all about the darker emotions of humans. It showcases the loneliness, fear, and desperation that exists in people, and how it affects their relationships. The long descriptive narratives of the landscape of Alaska added to the feel of the book. It's hard to say I enjoyed the story due to the bleakness of the characters lives. However, I was completely caught up in wondering how it was going to turn out. I could feel the characters emotions, and was hoping desparately for life to improve for them the entire time. Plus, I have been thinking about it a lot since I finished. For these reasons, I give the story 5 stars. The author did not use quotation marks when people were speaking. Due to the fact he was often describing the thoughts in the characters heads, while in the same paragraph they would speak to another character, it often was confusing as to whether they were thinking or speaking, which I found somewhat annoying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't waste yiur time with this one! I have to say this has got to be one of the worst books I've ever read. I usually stop after a few chapters if I am not liking a book, but i had such high hopes that this one would get better, but it never did. It just got worse. After finishing it I was in the weirdest mood for a few days and it turned me off from reafing for two months (not good, considering I had just joined a book club). The one good thing- I borrowed it from the library so at least I didn't have to pay for it!
Falcon61 More than 1 year ago
The only reason I kept reading was in hopes of a better ending. I know all endings don't end happy however this one just left me feeling what happened to the other characters. Did any of the others work things out, truth finding some meaning in their lives, that life is worth living. This book also made me feel like most of what any of us do or did is fruitless. If you want to challenge yourself that you can read this without feeling low or angry at the characters go for it.
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TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
Gary and Irene have been married for 30 years. Their marriage is falling apart but they are held together by a very thin thread. When Gary decides to build a log home on the small island of Caribou, located on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, Irene sees it for what it is. Their last chance to make the marriage work, or a sign that it will never work and that they have failed miserably. What takes Gary sometime to realize, Irene has already realized and partially accepted. While they are trying to put this cabin together, Gary and Irene's grown daughter, Rhonda has problems of her own. She is dating Jim, a dentist. He's well-off, successful and safe. But Jim has his own secrets. As Rhonda ponders what is going on with her parents, she can't help but think about her own relationship. These are troubled times. This is not a happy story. There are no happy people here. In fact, what you have are miserable characters who are wrought with loneliness. So lonely, that being together is better than being apart and trust me, these people should be apart. As depressing as this all sounds, and it does get rather depressing here and there, the story is very compelling. Vann's writing is lovely and sad and brutally honest. It's scratchy and raw and there were times when I was uncomfortable reading, but only because Gary and Irene's story seemed so real. You know how it is when you are with a couple who is fighting? How you try to ignore the tension yet it's impossible to do so? That's how it was for me reading this book. The tension is everywhere, yet I couldn't put it down. Halfway through the story, I knew where the story was heading, but in no way did it prepare me for what actually happened. I reached that last page and the air was sucked right out of me. I had read Vann's Legend of a Suicide and had a similar feeling when I finished that one but these characters seemed more real.as if they could be people I know. That made it more personal to me and what marriage hasn't seen trouble every now and then? The images that Vann created are still floating around in my head today. Caribou Island is a moving account of a marriage gone wrong and although it's bleak, it's very thought-provoking and Vann does wonderful things with the setting. You don't enjoy a story like this, but you experience it and appreciate it on a different level. Vann is a very talented writer and at this point, I'd read anything by him.
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NatalieTahoe More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure what it is. But when a book is written without quotation marks around the dialogue, it just seems to make an already sad and depressing book even more so. Now in their fifties, Gary and Irene have come to the conclusion that the unhappiness in life is totally the other person's fault, not their own. After thirty years of marriage and living in Alaska, Gary now has an obsession to build a one room cabin on Caribou Island, and Irene is supposed to help. No matter what, he will finish this cabin, even though Irene's truthful complaints of pulse-pounding headaches causing her to rest for hours at a time, have them visiting doctors to uncover a medical reason. Constant rain seems to pelt on them throughout the book as they work on the cabin, with arguments and deep despair building within them as each internally review the way their lives have turned out. And their children. Mark is the son who feels fulfilled (at least on the surface) to live by day as a fisherman in Alaska, and by night completely high on drugs. Rhoda is the daughter who is missing something in her life, and could perhaps be doomed to repeat her mother's mistakes. Living with Jim, a dentist, Rhoda doesn't know that Jim is just now realizing that if he does things right, he can probably get away with adultery for the rest of his life. Here's what's brilliant and realistic about this book: Although each character is disappointed, they also feel a closeness to the person they blame. They don't strictly hate each other, to a certain extent - while at one moment Gary may be ready to leave Irene forever, he still will lay down on the bed with her and hold her lovingly. There is a tenderness even though each of them are wondering if it's too late to make their life different. This is not a book to cheer you up. Effortlessly written, page after page sharing genuine insight into a life shaped with regret and "what if," David Vann builds an eerily quiet novel to shocking, and yet silent, conclusions. A quick read, it is disturbing, authentic, and frighteningly brilliant. Read this when you don't mind feeling a little sad and wondering if you'll be able to correct any bad choices you've made in life...
RobertaMay More than 1 year ago
Worst story! Not worth the time I spent reading and waiting for it to get better, or at least to find any kind of reason for this book! Sorry I purchased it!
Maureeb Clarke More than 1 year ago
So disappointed in this book! Not only was the story awful but a first grader could write with better grammar!
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BarnesNobleFan More than 1 year ago
A raw, gritty tale of individuals unable to possess their emotions or their lives, rendering a vacuum of dysfunction that threatens all involved. A powerful read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago