Legend of a Suicide by David Vann

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Synopsis

“The reportorial relentlessness of [David] Vann’s imagination often makes his fiction seem less written than chiseled. A small, lovely book has been written out of his large and evident pain.”—New York Times Book Review

 In Legend of a Suicide, his heartbreaking semi-autobiographical debut story-collection, David Vann relates the story of a young man trying to come to terms with the guilt and pain of his father’s suicide. The wild outback of the author’s native Alaska acts as the ideal backdrop for this collage of six stories—a novella and five shorts—and mirrors the author’s own psychological wilderness. From “an important new voice in American literature” (Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain) comes an unforgettable exploration of the tragic gaps between one boy and his father.

 

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 February 27, 2010 by HarperCollins e-books. 272 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Legend of a Suicide

Publishers Weekly

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This well-crafted debut collection, five stories and a novella, from award-winning writer and memoirist Vann (A Mile Down ) revolves obsessively around the suicid

Oct 06 2008 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

The New York Times

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In his first story collection, set mostly in Alaska, David Vann exorcises demons born from the suicide of his father.

Nov 30 2008 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

The Guardian

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Readers are left to judge for themselves how firm a line to draw between the historical James Edwin Vann and the book's James Edwin Fenn, and between David Vann and Roy Fenn, the narrator-protagonist.

Oct 30 2009 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

The Guardian

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Vann's dedication remains – "For My Father, James Edwin Vann, 1940-1980" – but it is now left to the author's acknowledgments at the end to remove any ambiguity over the fact that his father killed himself.

Oct 17 2009 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

The Independent

This is a collection of five interlinked short stories plus a novella, which constitute an extended fictionalised treatment of Vann's father's disturbing and untimely exit from life.

Nov 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

The Independent

The Americana of Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff – with its landscape of losers and dreamers – is instantly recognisable in these opening stories.

Oct 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

The Telegraph

Vann acknowledges these writers, as well .

Dec 14 2009 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

The Telegraph

The writing, as in the rest of the book, is .

Nov 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

The Bookbag

So far, so semi-autobiographical as the author's father killed himself when he was thirteen and it's difficult not to draw conclusions from the fact that the author's father was James Vann and Roy's father was Jim Fenn.

Oct 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

Seattle PI

However, with Legend of a Suicide Vann chose the belief that truth sometimes reveals itself best through fiction, and instead crafted a set of stories that plunge into the vortex of grief, guilt, and inevitability.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

In the first part, Roy goes with his father to Sukkwan Island, an uninhabited island in southeast Alaska, where his father has purchased land and a cabin.

Aug 15 2010 | Read Full Review of Legend of a Suicide

Reader Rating for Legend of a Suicide
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