On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, a marriage is unraveling. Gary, driven by thirty years of diverted plans, and Irene, haunted by a tragedy in her past, are trying to rebuild their life together. Following the outline of Gary's old dream, they're hauling logs to Caribou Island in good weather and in terrible storms, in sickness and in he...more
While reading this story i am thinking of the story Revolutionary Road written by Richard Yates a tale of marriage and the destructive behaviors of the human heart displayed in that story. If you have seen the movie it is probably even more engrained in your mind the images of despair and the path the couple found themselves down. The pursuit of happiness its funny how we try to at...more
I was surfing goodreads and I did that thing where you see an ad while you are clicking to the next page but I just saw a name. I clicked back but I got a different ad. So I searched, was david vann who I thought he was? he was and he had a new book.
WHAT THE FUCK WAS I DOING THAT WAS SO IMPORTANT I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THIS?
So I immediately took my self down to the store with my poor impulse control and bought it (and the top...more
Alaska felt like the end of the world, a place of exile. Those who couldn’t fit anywhere else came here, and if...more
The sentence above, uttered by one of its characters, could summarize David Vann’s elegantly bleak debut novel, Caribou Island. (His previously published work, Legend of a Suicide, was a critically acclaimed collection of short stories.)
From the moment we meet Ire...more
Anyway, in a small town in Alaska, there’s a woman who’s dissatisfied with her life. She has unexplained head pain but doesn’t feel her family believes her and medical tests show nothing. She’s unable to sleep and no amount of medication eases the pain.
Her husband has a goal, a dream, to build a cabin on Caribou Island and live there permanently. He’s driven to see it through and...more
This is a story of Gary and Irene, a married couple, whose relationship has gone rancid. The couple struggles to get along with each other through the humdrum of their day-to-day activities, but they have l...more
I was so torn as I was rating the book. I really didn't empathize with the characters and their stories. To be quite honest, I thought it was long and tedious. But the end, the last 5-6 pages were amazing! And the book cover is really pretty too (it should count!). So I rated it a 3 stars (an "I liked it"), but if a friend would ask me if she\h...more
Vann's imagination is just so bleak, so depressing, he should see a doctor. He ob...more
Their daughter, Rhoda, is engaged to Jim. He cheats on Rhoda and only proposes because she’s...more
Seriously, Vann has created one of the most f'ed-up couples in literature with Gary and Irene, the main characters of this novel. They've been living in Alaska for three decades, slowly perfecting their skills at being unhappy, particularly around each other. Now they're retired, and Gary has the brilliant idea of building a crappy, too-small cabin on an uninhabited isl...more
Mr. Vann previously wrote an acclaimed collection of short stories titled "Legend of a Suicide" that one suspects are a cathartic way to reason th...more
Every character in this story is fundamentally flawed and pretty unlikeable. The most likeable is Irene, the wife of an emotionally stunt man who emotionally abuses her and blames her for all of his many failures. But, she is not strong enough to get out, basically knowing she is living in hell. She ends up killing her husband and herself. In her suicide, she is repeating for her daughter the horror of finding her mother hanging. And thi...more
This book follows the lives of 4 couples living very different lives in Alaska, and each person's story is told from their own perspective as well as the other characters' viewpoints, so there is a lot of depth to the narra...more
A word of warning: do not expect cuddly characters or easily-resolved storylines in Caribou Island. This is a tale of lives and relatio...more
I was unprepared for the heavy, depressive feel of the story and, thinking back on it, I should have been prepared. The cover is dark, the setting is not known for it's warmth (thus inspiring feelings of joy), and, although I felt my mood descending with each page read, I couldn't tear my eyes or my thoughts away from the train-wreck of a story the people in Caribou Island were living.
Either I wasn't paying attention during the beginning pages or the novel's tone is uneven at the outset...more
"Caribou Island", however, I enjoye...more
Now in their fifties, Gary and Irene have come to the conclusion that the unhappiness in life is totally the other person's fault, not their own. After thirty years of marriage and living in Alaska, Gary now has an obsession to build a one room cabin on Caribou Island, and Irene is supposed to help. No matter what, he will finish t...more