Author(s): David Vann
Three generations of men hunt for deer on Goat Mountain. One hot autumn day, grandfather, son and grandson discover a poacher on their land. The eleven-year-old studies the poacher through the scope of his father's rifle - and pulls the trigger. Goat Mountain is an intensely powerful novel about how these men, and their boy, deal with the poacher's death, and with his body. In prose devastating and beautiful in its precision, David Vann explores our most primal urges, the ties that bind us, and the consequences of our actions - what we owe for what we've done. In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, this is a dark, brutal but magnificent book, the best Vann has written.
Goat Mountain by David Vann is a magnificent book. An eleven-year-old boy, on a hunting trip with his father and grandfather, examines a poacher through the sight of his father's rifle... and pulls the trigger. The fallout from this event informs a dramatic and harsh examination of the ties that bind, actions that sever, and the primal nature of man. I've been a David Vann fan since Legend of a Suicide and he writes ever more powerfully. - Tim
'Dirt is unputdownable, thundering at breathtaking speed towards the shocking climactic act. Brilliantly chilling.' Evening Standard on Dirt 'Vann's gift - his quest, almost - is a willingness to explore the unimaginable, the unthinkable, on the page. He is the real thing - a mature, risk-taking and fantastically adept fiction writer who dares go to the darkest places, explore their most appalling corners. I haven't read a novel as rough and shocking or, importantly, as wise and warm as this one in a long time. It's not safe and it doesn't seek our approval - and I've certainly no idea what Vann wants us to think or feel about it. But isn't that a plausible definition of truly great writing: a piece of work that leaves our heads and hearts in flux - rolling, churning and, if we're lucky, changing?' Observer 'The last hundred pages of Dirt are as audacious and uncompromising a piece of writing as I've read in a long time. Vann is a brave writer, daring to write about and depict things that most other authors would baulk at, but that's what makes him so good - that unflinching eye for the darkness you could potentially find in any of us, given the wrong chain of events. If you want to feel good about the human condition, go elsewhere. If you want the naked, awful truth, then dive in.' Independent 'What Vann does so well is to take recognisably ordinary characters and put them in critical situations, where tiny decisions or actions have life-altering outcomes. This is what gives his books their nightmarish quality -- the feeling that these events could happen to anyone.' Irish Independent 'David Vann's Dirt will not be to everyone's taste - a family horror story that grabs you by the throat and keeps hold till the very last page. But it's the kind of novel you surface from with a real sense of excitement about what fiction can do - and it reaffirms Vann as one of the most darkly talented and unsettling writers working today.' Guardian Books of the Year 'By far the most intense experience I had as a reader this year was with David Vann's Dirt. Words and ideas seem almost dangerous in his hands and yet his work is full of heart. For me that's probably the definition of perfection in fiction.' New Statesman Books of the Year 'With the 2008 publication of Legend of a Suicide, David Vann established himself as one of the most exciting young American novelists at work...There and in his novel Caribou Island, published last year, Vann has proved himself a writer with an unflinching gaze...In Dirt, Vann once again combines a brooding narrative intensity with highly stylised prose. As in his earlier work, Dirt exhibits a raw quality that often causes the reader to squirm. Vann lets his prose appear intentionally unvarnished, sometimes unfinished. Doing so gives this novel an immediacy that propels the reader into the troubled and claustrophobic mind of his 22-year-old protaganist, Galen.' Listener 'David Vann stunned the world with his debut novel, Legend of a Suicide. His second, Caribou Island, was equally impressive. Dirt, his third major novel, will not disappoint. He is now a major new voice in American fiction. The same trademark features are on vivid display here. The brooding intensity, the convincing, metaphorical use of landscape, the cumulative effect of detail and the apparent ordinariness of the characters all combine to inject real power into this dark and offbeat tale. To Vann, hell is not other people, but your own family. As in Caribou Island, family members barely control their anger, frustration and jealousy until they explode with awesome firepower. In Dirt, the explosion, when it comes, is devastating and utterly unexpected...After a long and deliberate buildup, tension is suddenly ratcheted up to full. The last 100 pages are breathtaking...Dirt cements Vann's place as a key American talent.' Sunday Star Times
David Vann is an internationally bestselling author published in nineteen languages. He is the winner of fourteen prizes and his books (Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, Dirt, A Mile Down and Last Day On Earth) have appeared on seventy Best Books lists in a dozen countries. He is a professor at the University of Warwick in England and lives in New Zealand part of the year. davidvann.com