by David Vann
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In his memoir A Mile Down (2005), David Vann revisits the horrors of a sea voyage—a journey from which he nearly didn't return—while reflecting on the suicide of his father. Legend of a Suicide (2008), a suite of linked stories about a man and his son living in various uncivilized parts of Alaska, stops on Sukkwan, an isolated island that's home to a slaughterhouse of a cabin and little else. Caribou Island, Vann's third book and first novel, revisits the same dark territory, physical and otherwise, depicting a family haunted by the specter of self-annihilation and the siren call of the Alaskan wilderness. Alaska, in Vann's cosmology, is "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."
Clinging unsteadily to that edge in
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