Caribou Island: Book summary and reviews of Caribou Island by David Vann

Caribou Island

A Novel

By David Vann

Caribou Island
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2011,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

A noir novel rooted in a world of profound violence and regret, Caribou Island is an exploration of marriage and exile set against the interminable restlessness of Alaska's primal landscape.

On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, Gary and Irene's marriage is unraveling. Alone now that the children are grown, Gary, driven by thirty years of diverted plans, is determined to build from scratch the cabin he has always wanted, believing it will recapture what once drew him to Alaska. Irene knows better. She suspects that the cabin is Gary's first step to leaving her.

Soon they are hauling logs out to Caribou Island in good weather and in terrible storms, in sickness and in health. But setbacks begin to create chinks in Gary's half-baked design, while Irene is stricken with mysterious headaches and troubling flashes of her tragic past. With each trip to the island their desperation escalates, and when winter comes early, the punishing desolation of the prehistoric wilderness will threaten to push Irene and Gary to the edge and end a marriage sustained by pain and rage that has been simmering for years.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Vann's brilliance lies in is his willingness to expose all. ... Desolate, violent, heartbreaking. ... A striking novel filled with the violence borne of a bitter life." - Kirkus Reviews

"The only true character is Alaska itself, and Vann, author of the story collection Legend of a Suicide, is at his best depicting the harsh, rugged landscape of the Alaskan wilderness." - Publishers Weekly

"Vann, who received acclaim for his short-story collection Legend of a Suicide (2008), renders luminous prose in this haunting tale of hardened hearts and broken dreams." - Booklist

"He is a writer headed for notable accomplishments. Enthusiastically recommended." - Library Journal

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Author Information

David Vann Author Biography

Photo: Mathieu Bourgois Agency

David Vann was born in the Aleutian Islands and spent his childhood in Ketchikan, Alaska. He is an internationally bestselling author whose work has been translated into nineteen languages. He is the winner of fifteen prizes, including France's Prix Médicis étranger, Spain's Premi Llibreter, the Grace Paley Prize, a California Book Award, the AWP Nonfiction Prize, and France's Prix des lecteurs de L'Express. His books - Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, Dirt, A Mile Down, and Last Day on Earth - have appeared on seventy best books of the year lists in a dozen countries. He has written for the Atlantic, Esquire, Outside, Men's Journal, McSweeney's, the Sunday Times, the Observer, the Sunday Telegraph, and many others, and he has appeared in documentaries for the BBC, Nova, ...

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