Review: Goat Mountain, David Vann

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Harper in return for an honest review*
Goat Mountain David Vann
In the fall of 1978, on a 640-acre family ranch on Goat Mountain in Northern California, an eleven-year-old boy joins his grandfather, his father, and his father's best friend on the family's annual deer hunt.
Every fall they return to this dry, yellowed landscape dotted with oak, buck brush, and the occasional stand of pine trees. Goat Mountain is what this family owns and where they belong. It is where their history is kept, memories and stories that will be shared again by these man. And for the first time, the boy's story will be added if he can find a buck. Itching to shoot, he is ready.
When the men arrive at the gate to their land, the father discovers a poacher and sights him trough the scope of his gun. He offers his son a look -a simple act that will explode in tragedy, transforming these men and this family. Forcing them to question themselves and everything they thought they knew.

David Vann was born in the Aleutian Islands and spent his childhood in Ketchikan, Alaska.
A forner Guggenheim fellow, Wallace Stegner fellow, John L'Heureux fellow, and NEA fellow, he has taught at Stanford, Cornell, FSU, USF, and is currently a Professor at the University of Warwick in England.

This is the first book by David Vann I read. I was curious about the incident what exactly happened and how it would work out. When I started reading the book I had to get used to Vann's style. He has a very poetic writing style which makes that you really have to pay attention to what you read and it makes it clear too that not all you read is meant like that.
The story is very disturbing filled with violence and the reactions of the men on this are equally disturbing. They either do not seem to care or turn violent themselves. The way the 11 year old narrator of this story was portrayed made me wonder about the way he grew up. The idea you get from his father is that even though it is not always the right decision he wants to do what is best for his kid. The grandfather seems to think everything is a big joke. Tom (the father's best friend) is the one I connected with most. He did see how disturbing it all was but gave me the idea it was the first time he realized how crazy the father and grandfather where but he suspected the boy was crazy for a long time already. The things all three adults did to the boy though made me angry at them giving me the feeling the kid never had a fair chance at a normal life. Still the boy scared me too the way he thought about killing people compared to killing animals. He must have had some mental disorder.
This book is really intense and not for the faint hearted. I am not sure if it was brilliant enough for 4 stars or disturbing enough for 2 stars so I stay with the safe 3 stars.

Goat Mountain
Author: David Vann
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
ISBN-10: 006212109X
ISBN-13: 9780062121097
Harper: eBook | Hardcover
Goat Mountain

3 star review

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16 August, 2013 delete

Hmmm, sounds quite intense! I think I'd like to give this one a try :)

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leeswammes
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16 August, 2013 delete

I have a copy of this book and look forward to reading it. But I've read all of Vann's books so I know more or less what to expect. Things are never sweet and rosy in his books. A very well-written, disturbing novel describes them all! :-)

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Isi
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16 August, 2013 delete

I haven't read any book by this author, but it's on my list and I want to give him a try. I still don't know what book I will read, but well, this sounds like a good choice: it had made your feelings emerge, so I think that's a good thing for a book ;)

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19 August, 2013 delete

Never heard of the author, sounds like an interesting read though even though it was a bit disturbing. I might check this out!

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