Goat Mountain: A Novel

Goat Mountain: A Novel

by David Vann

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

In David Vann’s searing novel Goat Mountain, an 11-year-old boy at his family’s annual deer hunt is eager to make his first kill. 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.
 
In prose devastating and beautiful in its precision, 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.
 
David Vann is the award-winning author of Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, A Mile Down, and Last Day on Earth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062121103
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/14/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,036,169
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(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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Goat Mountain 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Goat Mountain is the third novel by American author, David Vann. In the early fall of 1978, an eleven-year-old boy is on an annual deer hunting trip on a Californian mountainside with his father, his father’s best friend and his grandfather. This year, he expects to bag his first buck, but instead, in a life-changing moment, he shoots dead a poacher. The shocking series of events that follows this moment are told with matter-of-fact candour, revealing a flawed set of values, a moral void. Vann draws on his own family’s history of violence and his Cherokee ancestry to weave this compelling tale. The stirring, highly evocative, sometimes even lyrical prose is a counterpoint to the darkness and savagery of the subject matter. Gorgeous fragments like “Feel of the air, thinner in the cool sections, fattening up in the light” and “Cicadas turning the air into clicks and a pulse” and “The light not a light of this world but more a temperature, a coldness through which we could see” give the reader a feast of images, sounds and feelings. The boy’s inner monologue, filled with biblical references and uncensored thoughts, is often blackly comic. Vann’s thought-provoking and complex story will have the reader reflecting on a number of subjects: the sanctity of human life; the responsibility for a child’s actions; hunting and killing; conscience, goodness and moral fibre. This is a powerful read.
CherylM-M More than 1 year ago
It is dark and compelling. The structure of the plot is bare, crude and basic. Stylistically it reads as if the reader is privy to the stream of consciousness via the boy. The events unfold, as if one is watching them happen at that moment in time. It is brutal without the gratuitous use of graphic violence. The author manages to create a very vivid imagery and uses biblical comparisons to expand and explain the characters and their actions. Just one click, one moment and reality of the boy and his true nature become apparent to all. He feels nothing for the man he has killed and yet flows over with compassion for the buck he later has to kill. The first he does instinctively the second he is forced to do. Feelings of thrill and excitement at the death of a man and feelings of pity for the animal. Vann uses the imagery of the landscape and geography throughout. Land becomes man and man is one with earth. The boy feels nothing for humans, obviously identifying with his own image and feels the pain of the animal. In his mind the animal fares better because it expects nothing from death. Simplicity in death. What does become apparent is the genetic predilection to violence and the sociopathic tendencies. Grandfather thinks nothing of suggesting the murder of one of his blood. He domineers over his progeny. Most people would automatically go for help or get the police but these men think of killing to rid themselves of witnesses. What has happened in the interim? Has he followed his thrill of killing or did that one occasion help his inner pathology retreat into the background never to be uncovered again. How do the remaining men explain the incidents? The reader is left wondering, especially about the child, who feels alive instead of feeling remorse, because of his actions. The moral of the story being perhaps that some things can't be undone and we cannot control our genetic footprint but can we control whether we choose to act on the compulsion brought about by that footprint. On a more base level it also questions the morality of hunting. Why is killing the man a crime of murder and yet the hunting/killing of the animal considered to be a right, a sport and an extension of our prior caveman existence. Humans elevate themselves to a level of superiority and everything beneath that is a sub-species, which makes it morally right to hunt and kill animals just for the fun of it. I enjoyed it. It was one of those books you tend to remember. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is great. Eight of ten. I know! *Flies to suggestion res thrwe.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"FOUR WINGS? HORNS? GIANT? WHAT THE HECK?"