- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Windmill Books (2 May 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099558742
- ISBN-13: 978-0099558743
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 872,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Dirt Paperback – 2 May 2013
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"Vann’s gift – his quest, almost – is a willingness to explore the unimaginable, the unthinkable, on the page. He is the real thing – a mature, risk-taking and fantastically adept fiction writer who dares go to the darkest places, explore their most appalling corners. I haven’t read a novel as rough and shocking or, importantly, as wise and warm as this one in a long time." (Julie Myerson Observer)
"Vann’s rendering of the everyday gratings of family life is pitch-perfect ... A well-written, unflinching exploration of the often terrifying chasm between who we want to be, and who we actually are." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Vann is a brave writer, daring to write about and depict things that most other authors would baulk at, but that’s what makes him so good – that unflinching eye for the darkness you could potentially find in any of us, given the wrong chain of events ... If you want the naked, awful truth, then dive in." (Doug Johnstone Independent on Sunday)
"This is a novel of violence, destruction and ruin. There is no salvation. And yet Mr Vann’s soaring writing carries it forward – a reminder of the beauty that can grace even the beastliest things." (The Economist)
"Unputdownable, thundering at breathtaking speed towards the shocking climactic act. Brilliantly chilling." (Evening Standard)
A devastating new novel from one of the most exciting and acclaimed American writersSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a dark and unforgiving novel where none of the characters have any real redeeming qualities, the closest you have to a sympathetic character is Galen himself. All the characters can either be viewed as either products of their upbringing or they are naturally nasty and cynical. This leads into thoughts about nature vs. nurture which is why, I think, David Vann doesn't bring in any particular motives for their actions and thoughts.
The first part starts fairly light and humorous (mostly at the expense of New Age-ism) and slowly this turns darker and nastier as the novel progresses. David Vann is a master stylist and he handles the almost non-existent plot and unlikebale characters with skill - the way he makes the book readable is with the prose, which it is easy to get swept up in.
I have a feeling this is the type of novel that critics will like and the vast majority of readers unfamiliar with David Vann will dis-like - but for once in a modern novel it is not just style over substance.Read more ›
After a few chapters this promises to become an entertaining black comedy, but it never really fulfills that impression. In many ways emotions are described too literally and even obviously. It would have been better to have left more to the reader's imagination, but the author consistently saves the reader the bother of wondering about details and tells us himself. So despite being a relatively short novel, there's a degree of excessive and unnecessarily heavy dialogue and narrative that spells out for the reader what might have been more entertaining to figure out for ourselves. On the other hand, this could be seen as simply the deliberately adopted style of the story-telling and some might welcome it.Read more ›
This isn't a book for anyone who likes traditional storytelling or moral narrative: this is bleak, disturbing and as grubby as the title promises.
Vann is a writer who doesn't just take risks and push boundaries but throws the reader headlong into a chaos of emotional and narrative danger. This may well be one of the most powerful reads of the year, but it's also one to approach with caution - you have been warned!
Dirt is the second novel by American author, David Vann.
Recipe for family disintegration
1 young man, 22 years old (going on sixteen), the favoured grandchild, a virgin, trying unsuccessfully to transcend his baser instincts to exist on a higher plane (Galen)
1 single mother, product of a dysfunctional childhood, the favoured daughter, in control of the family trust fund and unwilling to let her son go (Suzie Q.)
1 grandmother, descending into dementia, relegated to a care facility
1 aunt, filled with anger and jealousy about her childhood and her violent father, resentful and determined to get her share of the trust for her daughter (Helen)
1 cousin, seventeen years old, promiscuous, flirtatious, very selfish (Jennifer)
1 trust fund, supposedly being reserved to pay for the care facility
1 secluded mountain cabin with very cramped accommodation.
Combine all the ingredients for a few days and allow to simmer. Wait for the inevitable interaction to occur, observe as things come to a head, then return all ingredients to their previous environments. To the young man and his mother, add one ill-considered threat and a shed with a rusty padlock.
Vann’s novels are never comfortable reads. In this one, he includes underage incestuous sex, described in some explicit and rather disturbing sex scenes, family secrets only hinted at, abusive relationships and mental illness.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favourite books ever; it is twisted and weird and beautiful. It is one of the only books I repeatedly pick up, rifle through the pages, and start reading at a random... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
On starting to read this book I thought that the main protagonist was a young male aged around 12-15 yrs old. However, I soon learned that he is in fact aged 22yrs. Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2015 by shelalia
This is a weird book, sexual in places, always tense, ending is just nail biting, will he leave her there or won't he, OMG ... I was sweating ... Read morePublished on 2 Jan. 2015 by zillion
Vicious. Debased. Bitter. Thrilling. Un-put-downable. This is the sort of book to read on a beautiful sunny day so that you don't feel the overwhelming desire to go and hide from... Read morePublished on 21 April 2014 by jax
Technically there is much to admire about this book.
'Dirt' is a well-written novel - however I find myself disliking the author's style and the first person narrator to... Read more
Sorry I couldn't get in to this book and finished reading it after the first couple of chapters.
I didn't like the authors style of writing and it didn't flow for me. Read more
I loved the premise of the book, put it on my wish list and ordered a kindle preview. After reading the preview the book is no longer on my wish list. Read morePublished on 6 Jun. 2013 by M. A. PRITCHARD
I have read Caribou Island and Legend of a Suicide and really enjoyed them both, so was looking forward to reading the latest David Vann. Read morePublished on 3 April 2013 by Lily