Pages: 272 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
In semiautobiographical stories set largely in David Vann's native Alaska, Legend of a Suicide follows Roy Fenn from his birth on an island at the edge of the Bering Sea to his return thirty years later to confront the turbulent emotions and complex legacy of his father's suicide.
I must be honest. I hate short stories (and novellas too). Hate them. Maybe it’s residual high school angst resulting from being forced to sit in an uncomfortable desk and being forced to read terrible little pieces of parentally approved fiction that no one gives a pig’s snout about and then have to endure the further torture of having to answer mundane and trivial question about them. I know, I know. I’m being juvenile. This book was different. The writing was beautiful and there was a unifying thread through all six of the stories.
There were so many aspects of Legend of a Suicide that I was expecting to hate but ended up loving. First of all, the prose was so bleak and bare. It was at times almost grotesque. The burial of a badly decomposed Roy by Jim in “Sukkwan Island”, the main story in the collection, was enough to make my stomach churn. It would not be advised for anyone with even the weakest of stomachs to read that part (Part 2). This is coming from a girl who watches Jackass without flinching. I also loved that nature and natural imagery played such a huge role. I am not the most nature oriented person. The thought of leaving the city gives me hives but the imagery in this book was, quite simply, beautiful. Legend of a Suicide was as much about Alaska as it was about Roy and Jim.
I really did not expect to like this book at all. But, as I find with many books I judge before opening, I was wrong. It was a nice break from the romance odyssey I have been on as of late and I will definitely check out David Vann’s other books.