Buy Used
£0.01
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Dispatched from London.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Caribou Island (P.S.) Paperback – 3 Jan 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£1.43
Paperback, 3 Jan 2012
£6.34 £0.01

Man Booker International Prize 2017
A Horse Walks Into a Bar has won the Man Booker International Prize 2017. Learn more
click to open popover

What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Product details

  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (3 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061875732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061875731
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,155,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Product description

Review

"The reader's awareness of real deaths, real griefs, gives his work something of the lethal intensity of handling an unsheathed knife: at times the power is exhilarating, and at other times it cuts bloodily and to the quick."--Olivia Laing, New Statesman

"Beautifully gloomy....Compelling....["Caribou Island"] triumphs in its juxtaposition of claustrophobia-inducing relationships against the forbidding vastness of our 49th state....Vann uses chiseled phrases and verb-less declarations to evoke the natural ruggedness of the setting as well as the character's emotional distress."--Tyrone Beason, Seattle Times

"Arguably the first literary masterpiece to take place on the Kenai Peninsula. . . . Like a macabre machine, the narrative ratchets ever tighter until the closing image of one final, forlorn hope that will be smashed as soon as the story-telling stops and the reader closes the book."--Mike Dunham, Anchorage Daily News

"Reaffirms Vann as a talented conjurer of the natural world, and of our nakedness in the face of its power and cruel impassivity."--Ian Crouch, New Republic

"Vann summons an atmosphere of terrestrial and emotional permafrost so intense that it'll freeze your bones."--Lee Randall, Scotsman

"[Vann uses] American landscape as a metaphor to tremendous effect. . . . Vann's brilliance as a writer lies in his willingness to expose everything. . . . A writer to read and reread; a man to watch carefully."--The Economist

"Compelling. As the plot moves toward a gruesome finale, the reader is submerged in 'slow waves of pressure, water compacting but no edge to it.'"--New Yorker

"Vann keeps the pages turning with the skill of the best mystery novelists."--Patrick Condon, Associated Press

""Caribou Island" gets to places other novels can't touch. . . . Though it wears the clothes of realism--the beautiful exactness of the language, the unerring eye for detail--it takes us someplace darker, older, more powerful than the daylit world."--Kevin Canty, New York Times Book Review

"Vann is a poet of the animal swings between men and women struggling for the upper hand."--Karen R. Long, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Compared to "Caribou Island", "The Road" is grim-lit lite. . . . Welcome to Vann's demon land."--Ian Sansom, London Review of Books

"Vann's brilliance lies in his willingness to expose all. . . . Desolate, violent, heartbreaking. . . . A striking novel filled with the violence borne of a bitter life."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

""Legend" earned him the acclaim of being one of the best writers of his generation. His first novel is a worthy successor. . . . "Caribou Island" gives us a climax as haunting and realized as any in recent fiction."--Wayne Harrison, San Francisco Chronicle

"Bleak, beautifully written and bitterly funny. . . . What really distinguishes Vann's work is his feel for his wintry setting. . . . But he is, oddly, just as memorable when describing a soul-crushing afternoon at the local fish cannery."--Jake Kerridge, Financial Times

"Both ["Caribou Island" and "Legend of a Suicide"] are intense tragedies set against an unforgiving landscape. Both are delivered in clear, lyric prose. . . . Vann isn't delivering happy endings, but he is delivering life in crystalline, unforgettable prose."--Robin Vidimos, Denver Post

"Vann forces us to watch, to pay attention. He refuses to provide his characters--or us--with an easy, happy resolution. Instead, he gives us something much more valuable: an unflinching portrait of what can happen to lives when hopes and ambitions wander off, get lost, and surrender to the merciless cold."--Kevin Grauke, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Transfixing and unflinching. . . . Full of finely realized moments. . . . Comparison with Cormac McCarthy is fully justified."--Toby Lichtig, Times Literary Supplement (London)

""Caribou Island" is a beautiful, richly atmospheric if unsettling novel, and deserves to consolidate Vann's position among America's literary high flyers."--Melanie McGrath, London Evening Standard

"As bleak as an Alaskan winter, but it also wields an unforgiving, elemental power that is breathtaking to read."--Doug Johnstone, Independent (UK)

"An existential page-turner and literary breakthrough. . . . The novel's primal power, moral depth, and narrative command show the author making a big leap."--Don McLeese, Kirkus Reviews

"Moving, powerful . . . Vann's people are hurtling irretrievably toward a dark outcome, and while putting the book down might save you from it, you can't stop reading, just as you can't unlearn its truths."--Caitlin Roper, Los Angeles Times

"It's rare when a fiction writer of extraordinary literary merit is equally brilliant in both the short story and novel forms. David Vann is a dazzling exception....Vann knows the darkness but he writes from the compassionate light of art. This is an essential book."--Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

""Caribou Island" builds to an horrific climax and stands as an engrossing and disturbing work of art."--Alan Cheuse, NPR

"Greatness has arrived: "Caribou Island" is a powerful first novel of love, lust, and regret set on an island near Soldotna, a fishing town on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.... Vann slowly and quietly builds the drama toward an emotional gut-punch of an ending--think Cormac McCarthy on ice."--Outside Magazine

"A taut and riveting study of isolation, insanity, and violence."--Bret Anthony Johnston, Men's Journal

"[Vann] has come fully into his own voice, from the striking opening scene to the fateful final sentence.... An oddly exhilarating horror story in which human demons spring from the smoke of their own disappointment and regret. Caribou Island earns Vann a seat beside the masters. A+"--Sheerly Avni, San Francisco Magazine

"Vann's beautiful, spare portrait of a marriage's end casts a singular spell."--People

"Compared to "Caribou Island," "The Road" is grim-lit lite. . . . Welcome to Vann's demon land."--Ian Sansom, London Review of Books

Vann s beautiful, spare portrait of a marriage s end casts a singular spell. --People"

"Caribou Island" builds to an horrific climax and stands as an engrossing and disturbing work of art. --Alan Cheuse, NPR"

"Legend" earned him the acclaim of being one of the best writers of his generation. His first novel is a worthy successor. . . . "Caribou Island" gives us a climax as haunting and realized as any in recent fiction. --Wayne Harrison, San Francisco Chronicle"

Moving, powerful . . . Vann s people are hurtling irretrievably toward a dark outcome, and while putting the book down might save you from it, you can t stop reading, just as you can t unlearn its truths. --Caitlin Roper, Los Angeles Times"

Both ["Caribou Island" and "Legend of a Suicide"] are intense tragedies set against an unforgiving landscape. Both are delivered in clear, lyric prose. . . . Vann isn t delivering happy endings, but he is delivering life in crystalline, unforgettable prose. --Robin Vidimos, Denver Post"

Vann is a poet of the animal swings between men and women struggling for the upper hand. --Karen R. Long, Cleveland Plain Dealer"

Compelling. As the plot moves toward a gruesome finale, the reader is submerged in slow waves of pressure, water compacting but no edge to it. --New Yorker"

[Vann] has come fully into his own voice, from the striking opening scene to the fateful final sentence.... An oddly exhilarating horror story in which human demons spring from the smoke of their own disappointment and regret. Caribou Island earns Vann a seat beside the masters. A+ --Sheerly Avni, San Francisco Magazine"

Transfixing and unflinching. . . . Full of finely realized moments. . . . Comparison with Cormac McCarthy is fully justified. --Toby Lichtig, Times Literary Supplement (London)"

[Vann uses] American landscape as a metaphor to tremendous effect. . . . Vann s brilliance as a writer lies in his willingness to expose everything. . . . A writer to read and reread; a man to watch carefully. --The Economist"

An existential page-turner and literary breakthrough. . . . The novel s primal power, moral depth, and narrative command show the author making a big leap. --Don McLeese, Kirkus Reviews"

A taut and riveting study of isolation, insanity, and violence. --Bret Anthony Johnston, Men's Journal"

The reader s awareness of real deaths, real griefs, gives his work something of the lethal intensity of handling an unsheathed knife: at times the power is exhilarating, and at other times it cuts bloodily and to the quick. --Olivia Laing, New Statesman"

Bleak, beautifully written and bitterly funny. . . . What really distinguishes Vann s work is his feel for his wintry setting. . . . But he is, oddly, just as memorable when describing a soul-crushing afternoon at the local fish cannery. --Jake Kerridge, Financial Times"

Compared to "Caribou Island," "The Road" is grim-lit lite. . . . Welcome to Vann s demon land. --Ian Sansom, London Review of Books"

Reaffirms Vann as a talented conjurer of the natural world, and of our nakedness in the face of its power and cruel impassivity. --Ian Crouch, New Republic"

"Caribou Island" is a beautiful, richly atmospheric if unsettling novel, and deserves to consolidate Vann s position among America s literary high flyers. --Melanie McGrath, London Evening Standard"

Beautifully gloomy .Compelling .["Caribou Island"] triumphs in its juxtaposition of claustrophobia-inducing relationships against the forbidding vastness of our 49th state .Vann uses chiseled phrases and verb-less declarations to evoke the natural ruggedness of the setting as well as the character s emotional distress. --Tyrone Beason, Seattle Times"

As bleak as an Alaskan winter, but it also wields an unforgiving, elemental power that is breathtaking to read. --Doug Johnstone, Independent (UK)"

Vann summons an atmosphere of terrestrial and emotional permafrost so intense that it ll freeze your bones. --Lee Randall, Scotsman"

Arguably the first literary masterpiece to take place on the Kenai Peninsula. . . . Like a macabre machine, the narrative ratchets ever tighter until the closing image of one final, forlorn hope that will be smashed as soon as the story-telling stops and the reader closes the book. --Mike Dunham, Anchorage Daily News"

Vann keeps the pages turning with the skill of the best mystery novelists. --Patrick Condon, Associated Press"

It s rare when a fiction writer of extraordinary literary merit is equally brilliant in both the short story and novel forms. David Vann is a dazzling exception .Vann knows the darkness but he writes from the compassionate light of art. This is an essential book. --Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain"

In this exceptional first novel by the celebrated author of "Legend of a Suicide," an oncoming Alaska winter becomes metaphor as a troubled marriage moves implacably toward a bleak reckoning. "Caribou Island" is an unflinching portrait of bad faith and bad dreams. --Ron Rash, author of Burning Bright"

Vann s brilliance lies in his willingness to expose all. . . . Desolate, violent, heartbreaking. . . . A striking novel filled with the violence borne of a bitter life. --Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)"

Expect to have to stop and think now and then as answers may be hard to find, but the questions are everywhere. Read it and be prepared to expand your mind. --"The Daily Post" (New Zealand)"

"Caribou Island" gets to places other novels can t touch. . . . Though it wears the clothes of realism the beautiful exactness of the language, the unerring eye for detail it takes us someplace darker, older, more powerful than the daylit world. --Kevin Canty, New York Times Book Review"

Vann forces us to watch, to pay attention. He refuses to provide his characters or us with an easy, happy resolution. Instead, he gives us something much more valuable: an unflinching portrait of what can happen to lives when hopes and ambitions wander off, get lost, and surrender to the merciless cold. --Kevin Grauke, Philadelphia Inquirer"

Greatness has arrived: "Caribou Island" is a powerful first novel of love, lust, and regret set on an island near Soldotna, a fishing town on Alaska s Kenai Peninsula.... Vann slowly and quietly builds the drama toward an emotional gut-punch of an ending think Cormac McCarthy on ice. --Outside Magazine"

"Caribou Island gets to places other novels can't touch. . . . Though it wears the clothes of realism--the beautiful exactness of the language, the unerring eye for detail--it takes us someplace darker, older, more powerful than the daylit world."--Kevin Canty, New York Times Book Review

"Caribou Island builds to an horrific climax and stands as an engrossing and disturbing work of art."--Alan Cheuse, NPR

"Legend earned him the acclaim of being one of the best writers of his generation. His first novel is a worthy successor. . . . Caribou Island gives us a climax as haunting and realized as any in recent fiction."--Wayne Harrison, San Francisco Chronicle

"Both [Caribou Island and Legend of a Suicide] are intense tragedies set against an unforgiving landscape. Both are delivered in clear, lyric prose. . . . Vann isn't delivering happy endings, but he is delivering life in crystalline, unforgettable prose."--Robin Vidimos, Denver Post

"Greatness has arrived: Caribou Island is a powerful first novel of love, lust, and regret set on an island near Soldotna, a fishing town on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.... Vann slowly and quietly builds the drama toward an emotional gut-punch of an ending--think Cormac McCarthy on ice."--Outside Magazine

"Compared to Caribou Island, The Road is grim-lit lite. . . . Welcome to Vann's demon land."--Ian Sansom, London Review of Books

"Caribou Island is a beautiful, richly atmospheric if unsettling novel, and deserves to consolidate Vann's position among America's literary high flyers."--Melanie McGrath, London Evening Standard

"Beautifully gloomy....Compelling....[Caribou Island] triumphs in its juxtaposition of claustrophobia-inducing relationships against the forbidding vastness of our 49th state....Vann uses chiseled phrases and verb-less declarations to evoke the natural ruggedness of the setting as well as the character's emotional distress."--Tyrone Beason, Seattle Times

"In this exceptional first novel by the celebrated author of Legend of a Suicide, an oncoming Alaska winter becomes metaphor as a troubled marriage moves implacably toward a bleak reckoning. Caribou Island is an unflinching portrait of bad faith and bad dreams."--Ron Rash, author of Burning Bright

"Expect to have to stop and think now and then as answers may be hard to find, but the questions are everywhere. Read it and be prepared to expand your mind."--The Daily Post (New Zealand)

From the Back Cover

On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, Gary and Irene's marriage is unraveling. Following the outline of Gary's old dream and trying to rebuild their life together, they are finally constructing the kind of cabin that drew them to Alaska in the first place. But the onset of an early winter and the overwhelming isolation of the prehistoric wilderness threaten their bond to the core.

Brilliantly drawn and fiercely honest, Caribou Island is a drama of bitter love and failed dreams--an unforgettable portrait of desolation, violence, and the darkness of the soul.

See all Product description

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Misery loves company, he said. And all you wanted to do was drag me down with you. You're a mean old b*tch. You don't say it but you're thinking it, always judging. Gary doesn't know what he's doing. Gary hasn't planned a thing, hasn't thought ahead. Always a little bit of judgment. A mean old b*tch."
"You're a monster", she said.
"See? I'm a monster. I'm the f****** monster." (Vann, 2011: 265-6)

This here is the torturous back-and-forth between Gary and Irene, a middle-aged couple who have, on the directive of Gary, decided to build a log cabin on an Alaskan island and live there. This is the core of David Vann's Caribou Island, the follow up to his intriguing Legend of a Suicide. Caribou Island pretty much shares the same setting as Legend; the cold, isolated Alaskan wilderness, and draws parallels with Legend's story; it's momentum being driven by the mental anguish of a central character. Also thrown into Caribou's mix are Gary and Irene's grown children, Rhoda and Mark - the former a veterinary nurse dating Jim, an older dentist who's unfaithful to her, the latter a distant young man who works various jobs. For the first two-thirds of the novel, two of Mark's friends, a couple from D.C., Monique and Carl also feature; an unsuited couple, she promiscuous and daring, he hapless and out of his depth. Gary is introverted and is driven by the ill-thought out plan of moving permanently to a log cabin which he would build with Irene. Irene abides but is certain Gary's plan is just a way of breaking their relationship and that he will soon leave her. And here is essentially the main problem of Caribou Island: the characters (with mild exception of Rhoda) are all obnoxious, either self-pitying or selfish characters.
Read more ›
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Thomas Cunliffe TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
David Vann first came to attention with Legend of a Suicide, a fictionalised account of his father's suicide which left readers wondering where fact stopped and fiction started. Its three stories acted as a sort of prolonged meditation on suicide and the reasons for it, while digressing into some horrific stories of how a teenager may seek retribution on an erring father.
Vann's second novel Caribou Island has much in common with his first, both in theme (suicide) and location (Alaska). The cover says it all. This is a bleak and inhospitable country, best left to bears and eagles and I am sure the Alaskan tourist authority will not be thanking Vann for his depiction of this dark and threatening region.

Irene and Gary, a retired couple have a relationship based on passive-aggressive hostility. Gary always wanted to be a back-woodsman, but got "trapped" into taking a regular job in order to raise a family. He hates his wife so much that he persuades her to help him build a log cabin on an uninhabited island (as though the community they already live in isn't barren enough!). Irene's reasons for joining in this mad escapade are never made clear, but she seems to have some sense of marital obligation which readers soon find is going to lead her to disaster. Vann's accounts of Gary and Irene's attempts to get the building materials across to the island in a little metal boat depict a level of suffering which is sufficient in itself to show the hardships in store for this ill-fated couple.

Meanwhile, their daughter Rhoda lives with her dentist-fiancé Jim.
Read more ›
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have not read David Vann's first novel, Legend of a Suicide, so I came to Caribou Island with fresh eyes, you might say, and had no idea what to expect.

Caribou Island is set in the wilderness of Alaska and follows Gary and Irene and the breakdown of their marriage. The setting is unrelentingly bleak and harsh and the story is along the same lines.

Gary and Irene are two people who seem to have wandered into a life which neither of them wanted. Neither has the life they dreamed about, in fact, nobody in the novel has the life they believed they were entitled to. Life, for these characters, is deeply disappointing.

Gary had, and still has, dreams of being a pioneer forging a minimalist life in the backwoods. To that end he and Irene are hauling logs out to Caribou Island in all weathers to build a log cabin. Irene, who is haunted by the death of her mother, has developed a blinding pain in her head and it's never clear why she is so desperate to stay with Gary or why she participates in the folly of the log cabin but what is clear is that Gary and Irene are heading for disaster and when it comes it is profoundly shocking.

The novel also follows Rhoda, Gary and Irene's well meaning grown-up daughter, who lives with her rather unpleasant dentist boyfriend, Jim. Rhoda and Jim are another two people who seem to have sleepwalked into their situation Rhoda because she wants to get married and Jim because Rhoda was available. Rhoda is, perhaps, the most sympathetic character in the novel and you can't help hoping that she will wake up to what Jim really is and move on with her own life. There are other characters who make appearances through the novel like Gary and Irene's drug-addicted son Mark and they are all similarly dissatisfied with life.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category