Caribou Island

Caribou Island

A Novel

Book - 2011
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When the construction of their dream cabin on an isolated Alaskan island is interrupted by an early Arctic winter, Gary and Irene find their marriage unraveling as they become stranded with their daughter, Rhoda, who watches helplessly as her parents drift further apart.
Publisher: New York : Harper, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061875731
9780061875724
0061875724
Characteristics: 293 p. ; 24 cm

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PimaLib_StephanieM May 18, 2015

If you're in a low spot in your relationship/marriage, don't read this. Fortunately, things are smooth in my own relationship so I was able to find a few spots of this mildly entertaining. A FEW, mind you and mildly so. A portrait of two stubborn people who recognize that this quality is killing them both and everyone around them...but still won't do anything about it. A readable downer.

ChristchurchLib Oct 21, 2013

"Out on Alaska's deserted Caribou Island, a marriage disintegrates faster than ever as Gary insists on building a ramshackle cabin without plans and Irene is weakened by terrible headaches. Their grown daughter, Rhoda, watches from the sidelines as she longs for a proposal from her boyfriend, though their marriage would be no happier. The bleak Alaska landscape makes for an appropriate backdrop to the miseries of their relationships; if you're asking yourself why you'd want to read such an unforgiving novel, it's for the landscape and the sad authenticity of the characters' unhappy lives." Fiction A to Z October 2013 newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=691547

BPLNextBestAdults Jun 05, 2012

Struggling married couple, Gary and Irene, set out to build their dream cabin on an isolated Alaskan island. Gary hopes the construction of this masterpiece will help to mend whatever has been long broken in their marriage. And all is going according to plan until an early winter disrupts the cabin’s completion. Frantic with worry about her parents, isolated on the island, Rhoda—their daughter—sets out across the lake, vowing to put a stop to her parents' foolishness and bring them home. But Irene has already made a decision that will change all of their lives forever…

For fans of Picoult’s Tenth Circle, or A Country Called Home by Kim Barnes.

b
beachcat2
Nov 06, 2011

It was well written and kept me reading , but it was so dark I almost wish I hadn't read it.

AnneDromeda Feb 07, 2011

Since Sarah Palin’s arrival on the pop culture scene, the public’s vision of Alaska has taken on some cartoonish elements. Anyone wishing a mental palette cleanser would do well to pick up David Vann’s *Caribou Island*. Vann’s Alaska is monumental in scale, willing to devour its residents in the blink of an eye. In a novel with no clear protagonist, Alaska’s presence colours the book almost more than its characters; the noumenal cold grips mountains and stunted boreal forest, binding a family with no other common ground.

Gary and Irene moved to Alaska in search of wilderness and frontier life. Neither is sure why they’ve stayed so long, both blame the other. Their children have also failed to move on since growing up, staying in their small fishing town when peers moved south for careers or to escape the social determinism of small town life. All feel stuck, seeking solace in the idea of a perfect family to pass the time. The amazing thing about *Caribou Island* is the grace with which Vann approaches his characters – none are perfect, but all are written so empathically that the reader cannot locate just one character in which to invest sympathy. Truly horrid and dark things happen, all of them with understandable motives. In this sense, *Caribou Island* has great potential as a book club choice. Readers attracted to authors with a very particular style may also find much to love. *Caribou Island* is written in small, bleak sentence fragments that render landscape and characters in monumental, broad strokes. In sheer terms of bleak isolation in the boreal forest, David Vann’s *Caribou Island* rivals the darkest of CanLit from the 1970s and 1980s. In other words, this is the perfect book to read if you really want to savour the bitter depths of winter.

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AnneDromeda Feb 07, 2011

Since Sarah Palin’s arrival on the pop culture scene, the public’s vision of Alaska has taken on some cartoonish elements. Anyone wishing a mental palette cleanser would do well to pick up David Vann’s *Caribou Island*. Vann’s Alaska is monumental in scale, willing to devour its residents in the blink of an eye. In a novel with no clear protagonist, Alaska’s presence colours the book almost more than its characters; the noumenal cold grips mountains and stunted boreal forest, binding a family with no other common ground.

Gary and Irene moved to Alaska in search of wilderness and frontier life. Neither is sure why they’ve stayed so long, both blame the other. Their children have also failed to move on since growing up, staying in their small fishing town when peers moved south for careers or to escape the social determinism of small town life. All feel stuck, seeking solace in the idea of a perfect family to pass the time. The amazing thing about *Caribou Island* is the grace with which Vann approaches his characters – none are perfect, but all are written so empathically that the reader cannot locate just one character in which to invest sympathy. Truly horrid and dark things happen, all of them with understandable motives. In this sense, *Caribou Island* has great potential as a book club choice. Readers attracted to authors with a very particular style may also find much to love. *Caribou Island* is written in small, bleak sentence fragments that render landscape and characters in monumental, broad strokes. In sheer terms of bleak isolation in the boreal forest, David Vann’s *Caribou Island* rivals the darkest of CanLit from the 1970s and 1980s. In other words, this is the perfect book to read if you really want to savour the bitter depths of winter.

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