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$1.99 Kindle special- again today. I’ve read this book 3 times - had received the ebook early advance Arc copy years ago...
Then bought the hardcopy for myself with the little colored photos of fish. It’s a gorgeous physical book..
And I’ve given this book as a gift a few times.
Is it the best book in the world? Of course not...but am I glad I read it? Absolutely- would not have wanted to miss this one.
I’m still regretful that I didn’t make it to SF the evenin ...more
Anything is possible with a parent. Parents are gods. They make us and they destroy us. They warp the world and remake it in their own shape, and that’s the world we know forever after. It’s the only world. We can’t see what it might have looked like otherwise.I have no idea how hard my parents’ lives were as kids. By the time I had gained enough self-awareness to seriously wonder, too far into adulthood, they we ...more
One afternoon Caitlyn meets an old man that is hanging out at the aquarium. He starts coming everyday to see the fish and to see Caitlyn.
Caitlyn's mom finds out and freaks out. Sure, that the old man is a big old perv bucket and is out to take Caitlyn and run.
One of the things that immediately impressed me about David Vann was how a man could create this narrative from the viewpoint of a 32 year old woman looking back and speaking to us from here 12 year old self . Later I became more impressed that Vann somehow made me want to continue reading after some raw and brutal moments that made me put the book down. But I couldn't put it down for long because I had to know how Caitlin's story would end . I can usually read a 300 page book in 2 or 3 days . T ...more
I wasn’t planning on reading this book--it wasn’t on my 2015 Challenge List, lol. But a good friend excitedly read me some of the fish poetry. Beauteous! But is there a plot? I need plot! Yes, she assured me. Man oh man is there a plot. And it’s one of the most original stories I’ve ever read. I’m SO glad I veered off course and picked up this gem.
Here’s what it felt like:
Lyrical lyrical fish fish fish. T ...more
“Origins. They don’t explain us, you know. They never do. Each of us is our own piece of work.”
When I read the premise of Aquarium I immediately decided it was most definitely NOT. FOR. ME. A 12-year old latchkey type of kid who spends her after school hours at the local aquarium and befriends an old man???? Uhhhhhh . . .
But damn this book was persistent. It would not stay off my feed. I finally decided to give it a go based on my ...more
Twelve year old Caitlin Thompson sits poised before the glass encased sanctuaries. Artificial renderings of ocean habitats. Beautiful specimens hiding and blending and reacting with genetically encoded responses. Much like their human counterparts, these fish, these squatters of the sea. Mesmorized by movement and non-movement alike.
Caitlin wait ...more
I’ve loved tropical fish all my life, at one point in junior high had eight aquariums spread throughout the house. For years, even in upstate New York, in grad school, I had gazed at fish every night, watching how they fluttered, imagined myself suspended in warm water with them, so this [s...more
Where to start.....this was a spur of the moment pick for me not knowing what to read next.....you all know the feeling.....so instead of reading one of the umpteen books I already own, I decided to download another on my iPad bc of one review in particular I just happened to see on GR.....
To begin with, I must tell you the pictures of the various fish at the aquarium throughout the book were so amazing and lifelike, they seemed to jump out a...more
Unique, captivating, powerful, brilliant. I believe this is only the 2nd five star rating I have given this year, so when I say it was utterly amazing, I mean it. Those ratings are not tossed around lightly in my corner of the world! (The other 5 star rating was what continues to so far be my favorite read of the year thus far, The Orenda ). I started this little novel today and didn't put it down until I had read the very last page; it was that engrossing.
That being s ...more
Twelve year old Caitlyn doesn't eat fish because she loves them too much. Not hard to imagine, knowing she spends every afternoon at the Aquarium after school lets out. She knows the exhibits backwards and forwards, is a veritable fount of knowledge, well-schooled (if you will) in all things having to do with ...more
This is the set-up for a novel that starts out like a fairy tale but takes a dark turn to something much nastier and more challenging. Sheri’s job is physically demanding and as a single p ...more
The writing is amazing. The downside of reading a hard copy is not being able to highlight passages t ...more
Raw, evocative, fierce and relentless are some of the adjectives that have been used to describe this book. Aquarium can also be described as a coming of age story, which are not particularly rare, but I am sure this is by far the most emotionally intense I've ever read.
On a pure visual level, this is a gorgeous book to look at. The novel is enhanced by the beautiful and colorful pictures of fish and other sea creatures that are cleverly integrated into the story. I read Aquarium on my Kindle b ...more
This is also a book that is pounding with emotion ...more
I can't think of a book I've read where ugliness and beauty are juxtaposed like they are in this novel. I believed every moment - and because ...more
It can’t be denied: there’s more to this story than meets the eye. This starts out as placid as its aquarium setting, with a girl, an old man, and lots of pretty and unusual fish, but those thinking Aquarium is too sweet and perfect will wonder why they ever thought that before long.
The narrator is pubescent girl Caitlin, and readers who enjoy child narrators will like her. Although the child narrator and friendship-between-child-and-kindly-older-person has been done countless t ...more
Caitlan is the daughter of a single mother, Sheri, who works at the Seattle docks. They live in subsidized housing next to Boeing Field. Caitlan spends her after school time at the Seattle Aquarium, waiting for her mother to pick her up after work. The world of the aquarium is so beautiful to Caitlan, she feels more alive ther ...more
I could rate this either 2 stars or 4 stars and both would be honest ratings. It shows how conflicted I am about this book. On the the one hand, the author clearly is an exceptionally good writer. He has clear, simple prose and a main character whose pain reaches you from the page. Caitlin shows us only a snapshot in her life, which revolves around her grandfather entering her life. Whilst Caitlyn doesn't share it with us, there are hints that not all was well at home for her ...more
(view spoiler)[ I didn't end up loving the story like I thought I would early on. I found it somewhat off, n ...more
I like David Vann’s style. Even when his stories are dark, there are small sparks of hope – particularly in the kids. The worse the characters behave, the more they need forgiveness. How much is too much? What can be forgiven and what can’t?
Caitlin is a lonely 12-year old who lives with her single mum, Sheri, a dock worker, who has just started dating Steve.
Caitlin jealously tries to ignore Steve, just her mother’s latest man, but can’t help being attracted by his inclusive conversations. ...more
Here's a conundrum: how do you review a book that is dazzlingly beautiful but otherwise relentlessly brutal? Do you focus on how it's written or how it makes you feel? David Vann's Aquarium is a book that makes me ponder those questions. Vann's writing is truly masterful, but this is a book that hits you with a wallop.
Twelve-year-old Caitlin is growing up in Seattle, being raised by a single mother who works at a local container port—a menial, laborious job that barely ...more