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Vault: An Anti Novel
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Vault: An Anti Novel

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  52 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
A pre-war amateur cycling career is cut short by call-up. Trained as a sniper, the man, whose name we never know for sure, embarks for war-torn Europe. Undecided how to resume his life at the war's close, and disturbed by what he has left behind on the Continent, he is compelled to return, dispensing first medical aid, then something quite different. A further attempt to t ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published April 15th 2011 by Salt Publishing
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Paul Fulcher
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Okay, he’s researched the cycling, the fictionalization I expect, reality is mostly humdrum, but emotion, motivation . . . If you’re going to tamper with a man’s life, at least provide some insight. Not this absurd existential anti-hero.

My reading this year is focused on the UK's thriving - in quality if not in financial prosperity - independent publishing scene, and this is one from Salt Publishing's back catalogue.

It tells the story of a man called McKuen: pre-war a racing cyclist, but who ser
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I’ll admit, I first bought VAULT for its subtitle – "An Anti-Novel." I thought it took some gumption for the author, David Rose, to give his novel a tag like that in our current publishing climate, and I hoped that the book would make good on its promise. The splendid cover made an additional temptation; on the Acknowledgments page Rose himself offers a disarming remark about hoping his book lives up to it. On both counts – subtitle and cover – it does.

VAULT is structured in alternating chapter
Nick Sweeney
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a suberbly-written novel, telling several stories on several levels, with themes incorporating bike racing, sniping (of the deadly military kind) and a dual role of first-aider and avenger. McKuen has been injured in the leg during his time in France and the Low Countries in the Second World War, as part of the Allied tide sweeping the Nazis back. After the war, in an adventure that brings him back to post-war Europe, and brings him (his anonymity intact) out of the footnotes of history ...more
Marc Nash
I bought this book as it advertised itself as an anti-novel. The definition of such, as made popular by Jean-Paul Sartre, includes elements of fragmentary prose that rejects presenting a unified character. Here Rose presents us not an anti-hero but a non-hero, a non-team playing military sniper and then a driven competitive cyclist who displays an act of great teamplay, but rejects any accolade of 'hero' for both. But the depictions of these aspects of his life are surprisingly non-fragmentary a ...more
Jan Jackson
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting. You can see why Bill Broady liked it; there’s that similar sparseness in the writing, and the places in between are very quiet.

A short little book. Not sure if it fits the bill of an anti-novel. But it does have a ‘House Of Leaves’ ring about it; spotted throughout the text are random italicised words. I’m sure they mean something when taken and constructed elsewhere, or maybe they’re just another existence poking through and unifying both versions of the life exposed.

It makes you
Nigel Bird
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
It’s a while ago now, but David Rose was one of our favourites at the Rue Bella magazine. His short stories were meticulously written and tended to focus on small details to make much larger points.
We published several pieces by him and he was one of our tips to move on to bigger and better things.
Pleasing, then, that I recently found that David has had a novel published by ‘Salt’. I’d like to congratulate ‘Salt’ for their good taste when deciding to put this out.
I say novel, but I’m not sure I’
Wayne Clark
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
I began reading this book in early January '16 but stopped after 15 pages since I just didn't get it. The story line kept changing rapidly and the author completely lost me.

I picked it up again in early March '16 for one reason: the book was the right size to fit into my backpack for a trip I was taking. I restarted the book from the beginning and, not only did I get it this time, but I blew right past those first 15 pages and kept on going. I have to admit that I enjoyed the book more than I th
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
convincing and moving portrayals of a kind of quiet, selfless valor told with a great textured, muscular writing:

Towns flattened for miles, those civilians unable to flee living as troglodytes in cellars half-flooded with rain and sewage, making hopscotch forays to find crusts or cabbage leaves in the rubbled gutters (p. 33)

this novel on the surface is occupied primarily with two physical activities: being a sniper (during the second world war) and racing bicycles. but rose's beautifully rendere
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Vault is a novel like no other I've read before featuring alternating chapters about a fictionalized war hero and his antics and the real life man he's inspired by commenting on everything the "author" got wrong.

The book transcends "meta" in the best possible way, producing a truly unique work featuring snipers, the sport of cycling (which I now have a far greater appreciation of) and, most importantly, the nature of identity. Do we have control over our identity? And is it possible to live wit
Jonathan Norton
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
A thriller about a wartime sniper who has a career as a vigilante helping refugees survive post-War Germany, before getting recruited into espionage and undercover operations. The narrative is told in chapters alternating with commentary from the real-life character who is its original source, who makes acidic observations of how his life-material is being used. Short and sharp, and with a few little puzzles for the reader. The only off moment is when our commentator uses the word "trope" near t ...more
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