Author(s): David Vann
Roy is still young when his father, a failed dentist and hapless fisherman, puts a .44 magnum to his head and commits suicide on the deck of his beloved boat. Throughout his life, Roy returns to that moment, gripped by its memory and the shadow it casts over his small-town boyhood, describing with poignant, mercurial wit his parents' woeful marriage and inevitable divorce, their kindnesses and weaknesses, the absurd and comic turning-points of his past. Finally, in "Legend of a Suicide", Roy lays his father's ghost to rest. But not before he exacts a gruelling, exhilarating revenge. Revolving around a fatally misconceived adventure deep in the wilderness of Alaska, this is a remarkably tender story of survival and disillusioned love.
An extraordinary, ground-breaking piece of fiction ... Nothing quite like this book has been written before Alex Linklater, Observer A richly gifted newcomer Sunday Times Books for 2009 Vann uses startling powers of observation to create strong characters, tense scenes and genuine surprises Publishers' Weekly Oh my god, Legend of a Suicide just bowled me over completely. It is such a tender, heartbreaking, breathtaking, horrifying and insanely compelling read that when I finished it I went straight back to the beginning and round again. I implore anyone with functioning eyes to read this book Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine So hard to put down that I am thinking of suing David Vann for several hours of lost sleep Lionel Shriver This book squeezes more life out of the first hundred pages than most books could manage in a thousand, which is pretty impressive, considering it's a book about death Ross Raisin, author of God's Own Country In his portrayal of a young son's love for his lost father David Vann has created a stunning work of fiction: surprising, beautiful and intensely moving Nadeem Aslam, author of Maps for Lost Lovers One of the most gripping debuts I've ever read Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan Impossible to put down and equally impossible to forget San Francisco Chronicle An American classic ... harrowing but beautifully wrought ... prose as clear and bracing as a mountain stream Sunday Times One jaw-droppingly powerful, courageous and original fiction debut...As a 10th work of fiction this would be impressive; as a debut, it is remarkable Sunday Telegraph Hands down the best fictional debut we have read this year Dazed & Confused For the imagery alone and for the sentences, the book would be a treasure, but the story it tells - the story of the suicide of the author's father - has an immediacy and sharpness made all the more special by the tone of distance in the narrative and the beauty of the writing Colm Toibin, Observer books of the year David Vann's Legend of a Suicide is brave, fantastically well written, and completely defies categorisation Julie Myerson, Daily Telegraph books of the year
David Vann was born on Adak Island, Alaska and spent his childhood in Ketchikan. A contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Men's Journal, Outside and National Geographic Adventure, he is author of the best-selling memoir A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea and a forthcoming novel, Caribou Island. He has been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and a Wallace Stegner Fellow, taught at Stanford and Cornell, and is currently a professor at the University of San Francisco. Legend of a Suicide won the 2007 Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction.