Gary Quien's Reviews > Caribou Island

Caribou Island by David Vann
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Feb 19, 11

Read in February, 2011

An intelligent and mature couple, married about 30 years and living on the shore of a remote lake in Alaska, leave the relative comfort of their cabin to "start over" on a barren island three miles out on the lake. The husband is not an accomplished carpenter or builder, but he insists on doing all the construction himself with the reluctant help of his wife, and in contrast to their current home, the new cabin--which they hurry to complete before winter sets in--is much smaller and flimsier and a potential and literal death trap in the lethal cold of winter. Is their project one final unifying challenge to the harsh unforgiving environment or simply a mutual death wish? It's a tense and haunting tale of a couple in a downward spiral of resentment and regret, and it provides great descriptions of Alaska, both the people and the landscape, from the remote beauty of the wilderness to the trashy environs of towns, cities and fishing villages.
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