Legend of a Suicide: Stories
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
“The reportorial relentlessness of [David] Vann’s imagination often makes his fiction seem less written than chiseled. A small, lovely book has been written out of his large and evident pain.”—New York Times Book Review
In Legend of a Suicide, his heartbreaking semi-autobiographical debut story-collection, David Vann relates the story of a young man trying to come to terms with the guilt and pain of his father’s suicide. The wild outback of the author’s native Alaska acts as the ideal backdrop for this collage of six stories—a novella and five shorts—and mirrors the author’s own psychological wilderness. From “an important new voice in American literature” (Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain) comes an unforgettable exploration of the tragic gaps between one boy and his father.
Rhoda’s mother swiveled on her stool and pointed at her husband. “Get out of my way, Rhoda,” she said, because now Rhoda was between them. Rhoda’s father put up his hands in apology, then walked back alone down the hallway. “Coward!” she yelled. Later that night, as I listened to Rhoda weeping and my father comforting her, I wondered whether tears came out of her blank eye. The wall separating our rooms was thin, and I could hear everything: their sharp breaths, her weeping again, and Rhoda
toward the beach, but then he stopped. He could hear it out there, at low revs, probably checking out the cabin, but he couldn’t decide whether to run the rest of the way and flag them down. That seemed like too much for this particular day. He didn’t feel ready yet. So he hid in the trees and waited, unsure, and then he heard the engines rev up again and the boat was gone. Jim went back to the grave. Oh God, he said. I can’t believe I just did that. Something’s wrong. I’m not ready yet to tell
were to let himself sleep, he would be destroyed. Chuck would be drunk at the wheel, currents would carry them, slip them sideways until the bottom rose to meet the hull and they would tip and fill with seawater and drown. It was just a fact that this was always waiting in close. They would be much safer far from land. He was thinking of this as a way of thinking about Roy. Roy had been hostile to him also. They had never known one another, never softened. He had not been wary enough of Roy. He
its back touching the table. “I don’t know,” Bill said. “It doesn’t seem to me we need to give everyone a handout. I know that view will be unpopular with my wife, but I just have to say, if someone’s going to make it in this country, they’re going to make it, that’s all.” Gloria scooted closer to her husband on the couch and took his hand in hers. “I’d prefer not to talk about Amway tonight, honey, if we could. I want to hear what Roy’s up to.” “Oh,” I said. It was hard to hear her voice.
I even have a college degree, but not a useful one for anything I want to do.” I raised up my fists in a boxer’s stance. “I coulda been a contender,” I bellowed. I have always entertained when I haven’t known what else to do. Gloria laughed. Bill laughed, too, though he looked confused. “It’s never too late,” Gloria said. “Can you pass the halibut, Gloria?” asked Bill. I saw fingerlings falling end over end through the air, their eyes rings of blue-inlaid silver, huge, unblinking. “Jesus,” I