ADVENTURE contributor David Vann, who profiled 2008 Adventurers of the YearRob Gauntlett and James Hooper in our Best of Adventure issue, is also a fiction writer. And, at least according to theNew York Times, he’s quite good at it. Vann’s first collection of short stories,Legend of a Suicide($25; University of Massachusetts), was listed among theTimes‘s 100 Notable Books of 2008. Four of the five stories take place in Alaska, where Vann himself grew up. It’s only fitting then that the book is as dark, stormy, and beautiful as the ragged Aleutian coast. Vann’s own father killed himself when he was just a boy, which may explain whyLegend of a Suicideoften reads more like journalism than fiction.
Timeswrites of Legend. “[Vann] leads the reader to vital places. A small, lovely book has been written out of his large and evident pain. ‘A father, after all,’ Vann writes, ‘is a lot for a thing to be.’ A son is also a lot for a thing to be; so is an artist.’ WithLegend of a Suicide, David Vann proves himself a fine example of both.”
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