Ebook Õ Caribou Island PDF/EPUB ✓

Caribou Island Alaska’s beauty has a brutal edge From a distance it appears calm and pristine, but the reality of living there can be harsh, unyielding Chaos is part of its nature, a reflection of the chaos in the couple’s marriage, their lives, while at the same time adding to their chaos A perfect storm gaining momentum.Gary pictures himself as an ancient Viking; forever bonded to this wilderness, thriving, every attempt at nature to knock him down is countered with his conquering bellows As part of his dream, he and his wife, Irene are moving to Caribou Island, log by log and side by side they will fulfill his plan to build a cabin there, a small cabin built for just the two of them to live out their days.“They were going to build their cabin from scratch No foundation, even And no plans, no experience, no permits, no advice welcome Gary wanted to just do it, as if the two of them were the first to come upon this wilderness.”Irene is recently retired, and suffering from blinding, chronic headaches which her husband dismisses, her daughter seems baffled by both the sudden appearance of these headaches and her father’s obliviousness to her mother’s nonstop pain “He thought she was making up the pain, thought it wasn’t real She was sitting right in front of him in the boat, facing him, but he managed to look ahead their entire trip across that lake without seeing her at all Part of how he was letting her vanish.”Beyond the headaches, Irene suffers from increasing dread of Gary’s fantasy life on this island All she wants to do is crawl into a comfortable bed, find a quiet space and shut away as much of this pain as possible “And meanwhile, Irene said quietly to herself, this gets to be my life Because you can choose who you’ll be with, but you can’t choose who they’ll become.”Their daughter Rhoda is concerned about her mother, the headaches, the desolate environment her father seems hellbent to drag her to She wants them close by She can’t be worrying about them on an island without any communication Nature complies by blanketing everything with a storm seemingly designed to add an atmosphere of desolation like a fog surrounding all Everyone’s emotions, thoughts and dreams seem to follow suit Vann’s writing is effortless, beautiful, haunting Caribou Island is a captivating, story with tremendously memorable characters Alaska’s wilderness is just as much a character in this angst filled story as Gary and Irene Lonely, disconnected and haunting. Darkity, darkdark, dark! The beautiful Alaskan wilderness was as much a part of this story as its characters a couple in their mid50s setting about building (and arguing over) a tiny cabin and about their adult children These people were drawn with outstanding depth and tone, and that is true for even sideline characters the four friends and lovers who meander in and out of the tale Aside from Rhoda, the gentle hearted daughter, and a sweet side character named Carl, we see shards of the rotten and the kind in practically every person detailed here This makes the dark story extremely believable, and engages the reader tightly The black moods that percolate through from time to time are relieved by the 20something goofiness of the adult son, Mark, and his entourage I've read three of Vann's novels so far, and this one is by far the most realistic and with characters that were easy to relate to Aquarium featured characters that bordered on cartoonish in my opinion Goat Mountain drug out meandering existentialism over and over He is an incredibly talented, if sober writer, but for me this particular story was his Goldilocks' choice: just right.Caribou Island was a difficult book to put down If you cannot handle the dark or cold, stay away but if that can entrance you for 300 some pages, read it 5 stars You can't have what no longer exists.Brutally raw..and that's not just an adequate descriptive for the glacierfed lake on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula Rugged terrain both in life and in the treacherous environment that surrounds both the body and the soul.Gary and Irene seem to gravitate toward the light of a star that may not be their own Gary continuously fights against the demons within that have tagged alongside him for all of his adult life He casts his fate like coins thrown randomly in a fountain..no plans, no preparations, no seeking advice nor taking it Shaking his fist and constantly looking over his shoulder at the past is his selected brew.Irene shores Gary up like a rainslicker in a windstorm Sadly, she finds that you can't always fight against the elements on a grand scale Debilitating headaches leave her in a volatile state Gary's headstrong insistence of building a log cabin on Caribou Island inflames her inner being Her feelings of abandonment from childhood are suffocating her And so she continues to trudge through the motions.Rhoda and Mark, their children, struggle to find their own sense of fulfillment Rhoda finds herself running down a corridor shaped and created by someone elsea very questionable pursuit to live in someone else's lane.David Vann creates characters that are real, wounded, desperate, and left out in the open He uses no quotation marks in his dialogue Their words just pour out gushing and frigid like the icy waters of an Alaskan waterfall No filters here No filters necessary.And you will meet a few other individuals added to the mix who thrust the storyline into high gear I had to screech out loud a few times while experiencing their purposeful actions Whatever you put out into the universe somehow finds its way back And who pays that costly price?Please note: This incredible novel forms a nest of heavy subject matter It is certainly not for the light hearted But the writing is topnotch and seeps into the nooks and crannies of its characters like no other Bold, unrelenting, and served with a very intense chill Kudos to you, David Vann. 4.5★“What Gary wanted was the imagined village, the return to an idyllic time when he could have a role, a set task, as blacksmith or baker or singer of a people’s stories.”Gary’s a miserable sonofagun, but he has his up moments, and if I were doing an armchair diagnosis, I’d be inclined toward bipolar, manicdepressive, or whatever the current terminology is Irene has stuck with him, this “champion of regretThe regret a living thing, a pool inside him.”They’re in Alaska, building a cabin of odd logs being carted over to Caribou Island in a boat that is in danger of sinking under the weight Not only that, it’s late summer, far too late to begin such an enterprise, but Irene’s is not to reason why, hers is but to you get the idea They have lived and raised their nowgrown kids on Skilak Lake “the water a pale jade green from glacial runoff”, so you know how numbingly cold it is.Theirs is one story, another is Rhoda and Jim’s, their daughter and the man she lives with Rhoda fantasises about marrying him on a beach in Hawaii, while he’s a bored dentist.Her brother, Mark, works on a fishing boat, and we meet him and partner Karen as they are hosting summer visitors Carl and Monique in their sauna Naked of course, smoking potent weed, then diving into the icy waters An Alaskan experience?Monique is a stunningly gorgeous headturner from Washington D.C who leaves a trail of broken hearts everywhere she goes Carl realises he’s on borrowed time with her, and when she disappears one day, off on her own (ostensibly), Mark invites him out on the fishing boat It’s a 3:30 am start with no touristy orientation workshop.“ Get over here! Mark yelled He was between the reel and the stern, picking the salmon This didn’t look easy As the net came up over the edge, he untangled a salmon, until it hung only by its gills, then yanked down hard until it fell out and hit the deck Salmon all around his feet, silvery and gasping, flopping and sliding in their own froth of slime, blood, and sea water.”Carl also gets casual work in the cannery, which is another cold, wet, slippery, bloody place to work Meanwhile, we watch Gary and Irene’s relationship deteriorate as she develops a splitting headache that gets worse throughout the book We also follow Rhoda and Jim and see what Monique and the others are up to as they cross paths back and forth Rhoda is close to Irene, but it’s not what you’d call a closeknit family.Jim, the dentist, sums up his (hidden) sentiments.“At the moment, though, Alaska felt like the end of the world, a place of exile Those who couldn’t fit anywhere else came here, and if they couldn’t cling to anything here, they just fell off the edge These tiny towns in a great expanse, enclaves of despair.”My husband and I have often called ourselves ‘fringe dwellers’, as we usually choose to live on the edges rather than the centre of urban areas Still comfortable, mind you Not like Gary, who will have no water or power or even much of a cabin We’ve often found ourselves with distant neighbours who may be peculiar or dangerous or interesting or, indeed, all of these Some are like Gary, looking for the idyllic village milieu, and some are escaping failure in the Big Smoke and looking for somewhere smaller to make an impact But some are hiding or outcasts who may have been pensioned off by families.Many of Vann's characters fall into these loose groups His own background is dark, and his stories are inclined to be dark, but he sure can write The dialogue has no quotation marks, which may annoy some readers, but I can’t recall ever finding it confusing His characters are frustratingly believable Frustrating, because you want to shake some sense into them all! For me, that's the strength of his writing He captures all the nuances of how people rely on each other and fail each other Grim but real. Because you can choose who you'll be with, but you can't choose who they'll become.This is a story of Gary and Irene, not of an island The island exists physically and figuratively, but this is a story of them Their love, envy and hatred of one another His failings and her failure to realize it too quickly.They've been together for thirty years, both in their middle 50's and retired; they have 2 children, one that loves and one that ignores The men in the family have always done what they wanted to do, walking out under pressure The women, tagging along while they live their life through their men, being the doormat of their existence; the welcome sign shining always on the outside, but furious within.Pain consumes Irene Pain of an unknown source The blocked out pain of her Mom's suicide in childhood and wasting her years with a man that she thinks will eventually leave her irradiates through her head, bursting through, having no place to exit.Failure consumes Gary Leaving California and heading to Alaska, he regrets passing on a life of his own, without children, without care.You can feel the angst and you can feel the pain It's all over the pages, mostly as it closes I could feel this bookthan most others.The storm broods and only stops with a false sense of hope. I couldn’t put this book down Even the moments when I wanted to throw it against the wall, Caribou Island stuck to my hands, the force of its narrative glue stronger than my desire to be rid of its woe and rage The backdrop is the great and terrible beauty of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, where Nature’s threat looms in every scene The opening pages show Irene and Gary, a couple in their midfifties, standing apart as their thirtyyear marriage unravels between them while they battle a storm from their small boat They are transporting logs to the remote island of the book’s title to build Gary’s midlife crisis: a cabin, where they will live out their retirement, with No foundation, even And no plans, no experience, no permits, no advice welcome That journey, the storm, and its consequences, set the tone for the story that follows, which is fraught with frustration, misunderstanding, disappointment, deception, and pain.Each chapter alternates between characters’ pointsofview We come to know Rhoda, Gary and Irene’s loving daughter, who like her father, is counting on a fantasy to save her from her own sad existence in this wet, dark town Rhoda lives with Jim, a dentist—one of the few solvent bachelors in town—in his shelter magazineready home Rhoda pines for the security of marriage and plans their storybook wedding on a Hawaiian beach, while trying to convince herself that Jim loves her Meanwhile, Jim is living out his sexual fantasies with lithe and blithe Monique, who is drifting through town on a trust fund Mark, Rhoda’s brother, runs a coffee shop out of a bus and fishes—the only time he really seems to come out of his pot haze to show a passion for work Mark is in fact living the authentic Alaskan experience his dad had come in search of thirty years earlier, when he abandoned a PhD in medieval studies to create his own poetic epic Instead, Gary sank into mediocrity, until he can barely remember the ancient languages that once inspired his dreams David Vann’s writing is extraordinary Like the natural world he presents, it is both gorgeous and haunting, and like Monique walking across the glacier, you are awed by its beauty, but aware that the next step could see you crashing through the ice into a nightmare Ultimately, however, the absurdity of the story’s central thread—that goddamned cabin on that godforsaken island—thwarts the impact of the themes Vann is incredibly compassionate with Irene and I understand the pushpull of her love and hate for Gary and Gary’s crushing disappointment in life, but their behavior was so illogical that I felt forced to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story Had they just arrived from their native California with dreams of an Alaskan cabin, perhaps, but they had already lived in this remote place, had dealt with the realities of this harsh environment, for thirty years It just doesn’t make any sense that Gary would be so helplessly inept at basic survival or basic construction skills And fine, even if he’d taken leave of his senses—which he hadn’t, he was just stubborn—Irene's figurative bashing of her head, when she is already in literal excruciating pain, by attempting to help Gary feels forced and inauthentic With or without her crippling pain, Irene’s denial of her warm, safe home, her stocked pantry and electricity and toilet and bed has no logic.But I couldn’t stop reading I knew where we were all going and that it would all end badly, but the power of the whole that resulted from the parts: the depth of the characters, the brutal and vivid environment, Vann’s rich lyricism, and yes, the story itself, made for an intoxicating, anguishing read. Check out my interview with David Vann in August 2012 reading this story i am thinking of the story Revolutionary Road written by Richard Yates a tale of marriage and the destructive behaviors of the human heart displayed in that story If you have seen the movie it is probably evenengrained in your mind the images of despair and the path the couple found themselves down The pursuit of happiness its funny how we try to attain happiness I recently watched Shadowlands a movie with Anthony Hopkins playing the role of the great writer C S Lewis taken from his real life account He unexpectedly experiences love in the very last stages of the two and fro of a friendship he did not understand love before only until certain situations came about did he understand his path That movie gave an example of a person caught in the pursuit of goals of splendor in academic and religious constrains away frompalpable feelings and rewards of love and companionship In this story, Caribou Island, the characters are faced with many obstacles and challenges of trust, lust or illness The accommodation of the characters of this story on a beautiful and wonderfully described Alaskan island Caribou island brings about a chance and opportunity to test the waters of these characters' trust and love They eventually experience a wake up call of sorts Illness and despair, when the clock is ticking and that sand in the hour glass runs on its last bead of sand we have a whole different outlook towards those around us Calamities can bring about change for the betterment of the parties involved.In this story there a people who are either in love, want love, think they have love and possibly trust the untrustworthy It's seems the fate of one parent and the legacy she left behind has tainted the family and has cast upon them melancholy and a dark over hanging shadow like a black cloud that follows your footprints determined to pour on you cold rains that somehow magically wash away traits of hope This Alaskan environment proves to be a form of paralysis to some individuals and brings to fruition love and despair and is all acted out in this story of tragedy David Vann has successfully brought to the table a captivating, deep felt, meaningful human tragedy in a prose with wonderful descriptions of landscape coupled with memorable and heartfelt characters “My mother was not real She was an early dream, a hope She was a place Snowy, like here, and cold A wooden house on a hill above a river An overcast day, the old white paint of the buildings made brighter somehow by the trapped light, and I was coming home from school Ten years old, walking by myself, walking through dirty patches of snow in the yard, walking up to the narrow porch I can’t remember how my thoughts went then, can’t remember who I was or what I felt like All of that is gone, erased.”“Above all else, Gary was an impatient man: impatient with the larger shape of his life, with who he was and what he’d done and become, impatient with his wife and children, and then, of course, impatient with all the little things, any action not done correctly, any moment of weather that was uncooperative A general and abiding impatience she had lived in for over thirty years, an element she had breathed.”“Gary was a champion at regret Every day there was something, and this was perhaps what Irene liked least Their entire lives secondguessed The regret a living thing, a pool inside him.”“To Monique, the best part about this place was the scenery: the high, lush mountains close along either side of the river, the short valleys dotted with wildflowers, the swampy areas dense with skunk cabbage, ferns, mosquitoes, and moose.”“A world that shouldn’t exist, far away and untouchable You could bring a crab up, but you couldn’t go down to them, couldn’t join And this was the truth about Monique He could have her for a short time, and his money could make it seem almost that he could fit into her world, but she was untouchable.”“He didn’t understand marriage The gradual denial of all one desired, the early death of self and possibility The closing of a life prematurely But this wasn’t true, he knew It was only the way it seemed right now, during a bad time Once Irene got better and returned to her old self, he’d feel differently.”“The lives of plants like humans, full of struggle and domination, loss and dreams that never happened or happened only briefly And that was the worst, to have something and then not have it, that was certainly the worst by far.” Review also at “Dazzling… Vann knows the darkness but he writes from the compassionate light of art  This is an essential book”  —Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain“Exceptional…An unflinching portrait of bad faith and bad dreams” —Ron Rash, author of Burning BrightSet against the backdrop of Alaska’s unforgiving wilderness, Caribou Island is David Vann’s dark and captivating tale of a marriage pulled apart by rage and regret  With this eagerly anticipated debut novel, a masterful followup to his internationally bestselling short fiction anthology, Legend of a Suicide, Vann takes up the mantle of Louise Erdrich, Marilyn Robinson, and Rick Moody, delivering a powerfully wrought, enthrallingly emotional narrative of struggle and isolation   Not long ago, I was mesmerized by David Vann’s exceptional and perceptive collection, Legend of a Suicide – a mythology of his father’s death I wondered whether his first fulllength novel would capture the magic and raw energy of that astonishing book.The answer, I’m pleased to say, is yes.Beware: Caribou Island is NOT for readers who are looking for “likeable characters” and Hollywoodtype endings It ventures into dark emotional territory that’s not always comfortable to reside in – the same type of territory that’s inhabited by, say, Martha and George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff In other words, it packs a wallop.Gary and Irene are a couple who have lived for years in Alaska, “an open space, an opportunity to forget about something as small as heartache.” There’s a juxtaposition of Alaska as a grand and vast space with the downright claustrophobia of a marriage falling apart Irene reluctantly “signs on” to Gary’s desire to build a cabin from the ground up in uninhabited and remote Caribou Island.The cabin becomes a metaphor for their lives Irene thinks, “Maybe you can nail each layer down into the next…if the could take all their previous selves and nail them together, get who they were five years ago and twentyfive years to fit closer together, maybe they’d have a sense of something solid.”But that is not to be Instead, Irene views herself as “chilled and alone…not the expansive vision you’d be tempted to have, spreading your arms on some sunny day on an open slope of purple lupine, looking at mountains all around.” Irene, if truth be known, is falling apart; she is having extreme flashbacks to the time when she found her mother, a suicide And Gary is totally lost, searching for himself in the infinity of Alaska.Gary reflects, “You could only find an outward shape…if you followed your calling If you took the wrong path, all you could shape was monstrosity.” And indeed, it’s evident from the beginning that the cabin is, indeed, that monstrosity.The legacy of mother to daughter – and daughter to her own children – plays out throughout this book Rhoda, their daughter, is trying her best to reconcile her dreams of love with a man who is poised to disappoint her And Mark, their son, has dropped out entirely, living monthtomonth and unable to commit to much of anything.For the sense of place…for the imagery and prose…for the fierceness of Vann’s imagination, this is a book that is stunning to read Even though his characters will never fulfill their promise, David Vann has certainly fulfilled his. David Vann uses no quotation marks throughout this bleak depressing read Is his refusal to use quotation marks supposed to be some new Style of writing, like texting? Why not just throw out all punctuation? We could all write in one long rambling paragraph Eventually we could even leave out the spacing between words I HATE what is being done to literature by those too lazy, or too unlearned, to write properly Vann's imagination is just so bleak, so depressing, he should see a doctor He obviously thinks everyone feels this way What a revelation it would be for him to get on medication, discover there are things to like and love about life I certainly can believe he wrote Legend of a Suicide, because this book sounds like he is suicidal The only reason I finished reading it was because I kept hoping there would be some meaning, or some revelation for these characters What a waste of my time reading this was It's been a very long time since I waded through anything so useless, with no redeeming value But, I feel better having said so Read at your own peril.

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