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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a powerful read
Goat Mountain is the third novel by American author, David Vann. In the early fall of 1978, an eleven-year-old boy is on an annual deer hunting trip on a Californian mountainside with his father, his father's best friend and his grandfather. This year, he expects to bag his first buck, but instead, in a life-changing moment, he shoots dead a poacher. The shocking series...
Published 6 months ago by Cloggie Downunder

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0 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Single Shot Self-Murder
The Bible is a book...

Written by (a) flawed man/men...

It reads from left to right...

Who exactly scribed it...

Everyone and no one...

A collaboration or solitary acolyte...

And what we are left with...

A collection of shady stories...

Prophets like water...everywhere...
Published 6 months ago by Chris Roberts


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a powerful read, 9 Oct 2013
By 
Cloggie Downunder (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Goat Mountain (Kindle Edition)
Goat Mountain is the third novel by American author, David Vann. In the early fall of 1978, an eleven-year-old boy is on an annual deer hunting trip on a Californian mountainside with his father, his father's best friend and his grandfather. This year, he expects to bag his first buck, but instead, in a life-changing moment, he shoots dead a poacher. The shocking series of events that follows this moment are told with matter-of-fact candour, revealing a flawed set of values, a moral void. Vann draws on his own family's history of violence and his Cherokee ancestry to weave this compelling tale. The stirring, highly evocative, sometimes even lyrical prose is a counterpoint to the darkness and savagery of the subject matter. Gorgeous fragments like "Feel of the air, thinner in the cool sections, fattening up in the light" and "Cicadas turning the air into clicks and a pulse" and "The light not a light of this world but more a temperature, a coldness through which we could see" give the reader a feast of images, sounds and feelings. The boy's inner monologue, filled with biblical references and uncensored thoughts, is often blackly comic. Vann's thought-provoking and complex story will have the reader reflecting on a number of subjects: the sanctity of human life; the responsibility for a child's actions; hunting and killing; conscience, goodness and moral fibre. This is a powerful read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, powerful and evocative, 5 April 2014
By 
Huw Davies (Taunton, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Goat Mountain (Hardcover)
Once again David Vann produces another fantastic novel about people and the continent of America. He combines some of the best description I've read in recent times with a chilling story about human nature.

The setting of Goat Mountain is one described so vividly one could almost be there. His description of the book's actions, which stem from the brutal instincts of one 11 year-old boy, are also excellent, though graphic in places.

The narrator's use of Biblical comparisons throughout is also done very well - not in a 'Bible-bashing' or overly religious way, but in one which relates it to human nature and real life. The narrator's grappling with the idea of Satan is done particularly well.

This is a wonderful book which is not for the faint hearted but is a thoroughly satisfying read. I hope Mr Vann has more up his sleeve in years to come.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our instinct is to protect. What happens when your instinct tells you to protect a killer?, 9 Oct 2013
By 
Cheryl M-M (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Goat Mountain (Hardcover)
It is dark and compelling.
The structure of the plot is bare, crude and basic. Stylistically it reads as if the reader is privy to the stream of consciousness via the boy. The events unfold, as if one is watching them happen at that moment in time. It is brutal without the gratuitous use of graphic violence. The author manages to create a very vivid imagery and uses biblical comparisons to expand and explain the characters and their actions.
Just one click, one moment and reality of the boy and his true nature become apparent to all.
He feels nothing for the man he has killed and yet flows over with compassion for the buck he later has to kill. The first he does instinctively the second he is forced to do. Feelings of thrill and excitement at the death of a man and feelings of pity for the animal. Vann uses the imagery of the landscape and geography throughout. Land becomes man and man is one with earth.
The boy feels nothing for humans, obviously identifying with his own image and feels the pain of the animal. In his mind the animal fares better because it expects nothing from death. Simplicity in death.
What does become apparent is the genetic predilection to violence and the sociopathic tendencies. Grandfather thinks nothing of suggesting the murder of one of his blood. He domineers over his progeny. Most people would automatically go for help or get the police but these men think of killing to rid themselves of witnesses.
What has happened in the interim? Has he followed his thrill of killing or did that one occasion help his inner pathology retreat into the background never to be uncovered again. How do the remaining men explain the incidents?
The reader is left wondering, especially about the child, who feels alive instead of feeling remorse, because of his actions.
The moral of the story being perhaps that some things can't be undone and we cannot control our genetic footprint but can we control whether we choose to act on the compulsion brought about by that footprint.
On a more base level it also questions the morality of hunting. Why is killing the man a crime of murder and yet the hunting/killing of the animal considered to be a right, a sport and an extension of our prior caveman existence. Humans elevate themselves to a level of superiority and everything beneath that is a sub-species, which makes it morally right to hunt and kill animals just for the fun of it.
I enjoyed it. It was one of those books you tend to remember.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
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0 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Single Shot Self-Murder, 13 Oct 2013
This review is from: Goat Mountain (Hardcover)
The Bible is a book...

Written by (a) flawed man/men...

It reads from left to right...

Who exactly scribed it...

Everyone and no one...

A collaboration or solitary acolyte...

And what we are left with...

A collection of shady stories...

Prophets like water...everywhere...

Wino spelled backward is Apostle...

Miracles a contact high...unreal...

How can such a work...

Teach one damn thing...

To a murderous boy...

With no name...

Just "Kid" or "It"

Ain't no book for him...

He has a rotten heart...

Serial kill him...

Drag him up from Hell...

And do it again...

................................................

Before this man slaying kid...

Before there was a Bible...

Humans acted instinctively...

Wrong and right were natural born...

Not one damn preacher...

Parables were burned in the fire...

As one worshiped self...

Not The Good Book...

No metaphoric abstractions...

In the days of black and white...

Kill your fellow or not, it was a choice...

Absent cyclic self-reflection...

And live with it...

Who the hell wants to know...

About the dead man down the road...

Chris Roberts, Patron Saint of All of Me
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Goat Mountain
Goat Mountain by David Vann (Hardcover - 3 Oct 2013)
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