Legend of a Suicide

David Vann

Legend of a Suicide

Roy is still young when his father, a failed dentist and hapless fisherman, puts a .44 magnum to his head and commits suicide on the deck of his beloved boat. Throughout his life, Roy returns to that moment, gripped by its memory and the shadow it casts over his small-town boyhood, describing with poignant, mercurial wit his parents’ woeful marriage and inevitable divorce, their kindnesses and weaknesses, the absurd and comic turning-points of his past. Finally, in Legend of a Suicide, Roy lays his father’s ghost to rest. But not before he exacts a gruelling, exhilarating revenge. 4.4 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
Legend of a Suicide

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Paperback
Pages 240
RRP £7.99
Date of Publication October 2009
ISBN 978-0141043784
Publisher Picador
 

Roy is still young when his father, a failed dentist and hapless fisherman, puts a .44 magnum to his head and commits suicide on the deck of his beloved boat. Throughout his life, Roy returns to that moment, gripped by its memory and the shadow it casts over his small-town boyhood, describing with poignant, mercurial wit his parents’ woeful marriage and inevitable divorce, their kindnesses and weaknesses, the absurd and comic turning-points of his past. Finally, in Legend of a Suicide, Roy lays his father’s ghost to rest. But not before he exacts a gruelling, exhilarating revenge.

Read the first chapter on the New York Times website

Reviews

The Independent

Stuart Evers

Taken as a kind of novel in stories, Legend of a Suicide is a bold, intelligent and consistently moving exploration of familial dysfunction. This intensely resonant and emotionally rewarding piece of fiction is quite possibly the finest American debut of the year.

27/10/2009

Read Full Review


The Observer

Alexander Linklater

There are hints of Hemingway in the control of the style, but the tide and undertow of its meaning are Dostoevskian ... You need to know it is based on facts to understand just how far he has gone in creating a new reality. But you also need to remain ignorant of the fictional surprise he has in store, so that it can hit you with the full force of new knowledge. Nothing quite like this book has been written before.

18/10/2009

Read Full Review


The Financial Times

Adrian Turpin

[An] extraordinary book ... Reminiscent of Tobias Wolff, Vann’s prose is as pure as a gulp of water from an Alaskan stream.

26/10/2009

Read Full Review


The Sunday Telegraph

Holly Kyte

...jaw-droppingly powerful, courageous and original… As a 10th work of fiction this would be impressive; as a debut, it is remarkable.

15/11/2009

Read Full Review


The Sunday Times

Peter Parker

Vann writes about [the] landscape, the sea and the often hostile physical world his characters inhabit with the sort of precision that comes from lived experience and close observation, and in a prose as clear and bracing as a mountain stream. Psychologically, too, this is a compelling book that equally precisely delineates the contours and limitations of masculinity, and the sheer effort required by unanchored people attempting to find purchase in a world that is “held in place, as it turned out, by nothing at all”.

01/11/2009

Read Full Review


The New York Times

Tom Bissell

The reportorial relentlessness of Vann’s imagination often makes his fiction seem less written than chiseled. One cannot say that Vann does not do humor well because — here, at least — he does not do humor at all. What he does do well is despair and desperation. In spite (or maybe because) of this, he leads the reader to vital places. A small, lovely book has been written out of his large and evident pain.

28/11/2009

Read Full Review


The Times

Tom Gatti

Vann’s prose follows the sinews of Cormac McCarthy and Hemingway, yet has its own nimble flex. That this book represents a personal obsession as well as an artistic success is clear.

05/11/2009

Read Full Review


The Independent on Sunday

Peter Carty

At times his writing is spare enough to evoke Ernest Hemingway ... Comparisons to pinnacles of modernism would be too large a burden for most young writers to bear, but Vann's back may be broad enough. There is a distinct feeling when reading Legend of a Suicide that this latest star from across the Atlantic can rise further still.

15/11/2009

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Christopher Tayler

Legend of a Suicide benefits greatly from its Alaskan settings ... It's also very cleverly constructed, but isn't in love with its cleverness; raw yet controlled feeling is what's aimed for and achieved. Moving, readable and often bleakly funny, it deserves to find a wide and enthusiastic readership. Its UK publisher's comparisons with the likes of Wolff and Richard Ford aren't, for once, misplaced.

31/10/2009

Read Full Review


The Daily Telegraph

Nicholas Blincoe

There is a delicacy and humour to Vann’s writing that recalls Robert Olen Butler’s stories of Vietnam, and a Western swing that owes something to Annie Proulx and Cormac McCarthy.

14/12/2009

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore