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Goat Mountain - David Vann

Goat Mountain

By: David Vann

eBook | 25 September 2013 | Edition Number 1

At a Glance


RRP $29.99



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A novel that challenges our notions about masculinity, identity and the bonds formed through violence.

Three generations of men hunt for deer on Goat Mountain. One hot autumn day, grandfather, son and grandson discover a poacher on their land. The eleven-year-old studies the poacher through the scope of his father's rifle, and pulls the trigger.

Goat Mountain is an intensely powerful novel about how these men, and their boy, deal with the poacher's death, and with his body. In prose devastating and beautiful in its precision, David Vann explores our most primal urges, the ties that bind us, and the consequences of our actions - what we owe for what we've done.

In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, this is a dark, brutal but magnificent book, the best Vann has written.

Reading group notes available at

David Vann is an internationally bestselling author published in nineteen languages. He is the winner of fourteen prizes and his books (Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, Dirt, A Mile Down and Last Day On Earth) have appeared on seventy Best Books lists in a dozen countries. He is a professor at the University of Warwick in England and lives in New Zealand part of the year.

'Goat Mountain is a full-blooded return to form...Some of the set-pieces are magnificent and the story itself is relentless. The boy's predicament - both the physical danger he faces and his confusion at finding he exists in a moral vacuum from which no one can help him escape - grips you by the throat...David Vann is at war with sentimentality. I found it impossible to look away.' Metro

'This story has the power of a bullet fired from a gun.' Economist

'Goat Mountain by David Vann shows us viscerally that there is no there-there, that humans have to constantly renegotiate what real is, that the rules, laws, commandments are all man-made, and that every time a few people enter a room and close the door or get stuck in the middle of nowhere, there's going to be a skirmish between spirit and bone. This novel exposes a sort of reality that we all glean but are happy to pretend not to notice. Read it.' Kirkus Reviews

'Vann's gift - his quest, almost - is a willingness to explore the unimaginable, the unthinkable, on the page. He is the real thing - a mature, risk-taking and fantastically adept fiction writer who dares go to the darkest places, explore their most appalling corners. I haven't read a novel as rough and shocking or, importantly, as wise and warm as this one in a long time. It's not safe and it doesn't seek our approval - and I've certainly no idea what Vann wants us to think or feel about it. But isn't that a plausible definition of truly great writing: a piece of work that leaves our heads and hearts in flux - rolling, churning and, if we're lucky, changing?' Observer

'What Vann does so well is to take recognisably ordinary characters and put them in critical situations, where tiny decisions or actions have life-altering outcomes. This is what gives his books their nightmarish quality - the feeling that these events could happen to anyone.' Irish Independent


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