Dirt by David Vann

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...a plausible definition of truly great writing: a piece of work that leaves our heads and hearts in flux – rolling, churning and, if we're lucky, changing?
-Guardian

Synopsis

The year is 1985, and twenty-two-year-old Galen lives with his emotionally dependent mother in a secluded old house surrounded by a walnut orchard in a suburb of Sacramento. He doesn't know who his father is, his abusive grandfather is dead, and his grandmother, losing her memory, has been shipped off to a nursing home. Galen and his mother survive on the family's trust fund—old money that his aunt, Helen, and seventeen-year-old cousin, Jennifer, are determined to get their hands on.

Galen, a New Age believer who considers himself an old soul, yearns for transformation: to free himself from the corporeal, to be as weightless as air, to walk on water. But he's powerless to stop the manic binges that overtake him, leading him to fixate on forbidden desires. A prisoner of his body, he is obsessed with thoughts of the boldly flirtatious Jennifer and dreams of shedding himself of the clinging mother whose fears and needs weigh him down.

When the family takes a trip to an old cabin in the Sierras, near South Lake Tahoe, tensions crescendo. Caught in a compromising position, Galen will discover the shocking truth of just how far he will go to attain the transcendence he craves.

An exhilarating portrayal of a legacy of violence and madness, Dirt is an entirely feverish read.

 

About David Vann

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David Vann is an internationally bestselling author whose work has been translated into nineteen languages. He is the winner of fourteen prizes, including France's Prix Medicis etranger, Spain's Premi Llibreter, the Grace Paley Prize, a California Book Award, the AWP Nonfiction Prize, and France's L'Express readers' prize. His books (Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, Dirt, A Mile Down, and Last Day on Earth) have appeared on seventy "Best Books of the Year" lists in a dozen countries. A former Guggenheim Fellow, Wallace Stegner Fellow, and National Endowment for the Arts fellow, he is a professor at the University of Warwick in England. He lives in New Zealand, England, and Turkey.
 
Published April 24, 2012 by Harper. 277 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Dirt
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Alfred Hickling on Jun 22 2012

...Vann's seemingly random dispersal of commas and conjunctions is altogether symptomatic of a novel that takes an extraordinarily long-winded approach to hitting the nail on the head.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Julie Myerson on Jun 09 2012

...a plausible definition of truly great writing: a piece of work that leaves our heads and hearts in flux – rolling, churning and, if we're lucky, changing?

Read Full Review of Dirt | See more reviews from Guardian

Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by Claudia Casper on Jun 24 2012

The blurb on the front cover reads: “A writer to read and reread: a man to watch carefully.” Agreed. You can't put this book down once you start it...

Read Full Review of Dirt | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Reader Rating for Dirt
64%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 75 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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