Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Review: Caribou Island by David Vann

I definitely do not want to live in rural Alaska after reading this book


This will not go on the "recommend list"

Gary and Irene are going to build their dream home, on a remote island off the Kenai Peninsula. They are going to build it the old fashioned way, taking boat loads of supplies across the water to the deserted island, setting up camp in a tent, and constructing a small log cabin without any neighbors in sight. Unfortunately, they are really at two very different places in life, with their children grown and out of the home. Gary wants to be a true Frontiersman, continuing to escape from his past academic life that started in California. Irene really wants to hold on to what's left, staying in their old family home (although she didn't want to live in Alaska in the first place), mourning the loss of her job as a teacher after retiring, and trying to keep a grasp on the failing marriage.

Depressing? Well yes, yes it is. Add a couple of kids to the mix. . . a son that works when he has to as a fisherman to support his relaxed drug filled lifestyle for the rest of the year, and a daughter who is living with a dentist and dreaming of her wedding to him, not really visualizing the life she will share with him if he marries him.

The book was really well written and the descriptions of both the landscape and the people felt intimate. Unfortunately I did not care for any of them and the whole thing was just too depressing. I felt some kind of investment to finish it to the end and that made it even more disappointing.

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