Thursday, 10 February 2011

David Vann

I read Legend of a Suicide last year and found it to be one of the most disturbing books I have ever come across.  Maybe that's not going to sell it to you eh?  

"If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skulls, then why do we read it? Good God, we also would be happy if we had no books and such books that make us happy we could, if need be, write ourselves. What we must have are those books that come on us like ill fortune, like the death of one we love better than ourselves, like suicide. A book must be an ice axe to break the sea frozen inside us."

Franz Kafka

Well I'm with Franz on this one.  David Vann's extraordinary book fits the quote above to the letter.

Is it a novel?  Hard to say.  Vann's father really did kill himself with a .44 magnum and there are many other details in the book that are obviously true and...erm...real.

What Vann does is to blur the boundaries of what is real and what isn't.  By telling stories about something that really happened Vann creates a space where he can resolve/explore some of the intense feelings caused by his father's suicide.  Suicide is so final is robs those left behind of the right to respond.  Vann uses the freedoms granted by the novel form to respond to his father.  The results are brilliant but also quite terrifying.

David Vann's Legend of a Suicide can be bought here.  

He has a new book out called Caribou Island and it can be bought

A nice little interview with David Vann here.   

No comments:

Post a Comment