A novel that challenges our notions about masculinity, identity and the bonds formed through violence.
Three generations of men hunt for deer on Goat Mountain. One hot autumn day, grandfather, son and grandson discover a poacher on their land. The eleven-year-old studies the poacher through the scope of his father's rifle, and pulls the trigger.
Goat Mountain is an intensely powerful novel about how these men, and their boy, deal with the poacher's death, and with his body. In prose devastating and beautiful in its precision, David Vann explores our most primal urges, the ties that bind us, and the consequences of our actions - what we owe for what we've done.
In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, this is a dark, brutal but magnificent book, the best Vann has written.
David Vann is an internationally bestselling author published in nineteen languages. He is the winner of fourteen prizes and his books (Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, Dirt, A Mile Down and Last Day On Earth) have appeared on seventy Best Books lists in a dozen countries. He is a professor at the University of Warwick in England and lives in New Zealand part of the year.
Vann (Dirt) offers a meditation on violence set during a deer hunt on a Northern California mountain in 1978. The narrator recalls in flashback a few days I want to remember in every smallest detail, when his 11-year-old self, seeking his first buck, just wanted to kill, constantly and without end. But the hunt s first victim proves to be a person, not a deer. The boy sights a poacher through his rifle scope and, purposefully but seemingly without conscious malice, shoots him dead. Through most of the narrative, the narrator, his father, grandfather, and family friend Tom quarrel about what to do with the body, for a time trussing it up like a dead deer. The men s bonds gradually collapse until, in the harrowing climax, the grandfather reaches a decision, with Old Testament finality, about how to evade the consequences of the boy s actions. The adult narrator steps out of flashback periodically to ponder the nature of killing: There was no joy as complete and immediate as killing. This flint-hard novel, in its intensity, will likely be compared to the work of Cormac McCarthy.