By David Vann
Publisher:Atlantic Monthly Press, (3/3/2015)

Average Rating:
5.00 out of 5 (1 Clubie's ratings)

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"Like Melville, Faulkner, and McCarthy, Vann is already one of the great ones of American literature."—ABC(Spain)

“Vann’s prose is as pure as a gulp of water from an Alaskan stream.”—Financial Times

David Vann’s dazzling debut Legend of a Suicide was reviewed in over a 150 major global publications, won 11 prizes worldwide, was on 40 “best books of the year” lists, and established its author as a literary master. Since then, Vann has delivered an exceptional body of work, receiving, among others, best foreign novel in France and Spain (France’s Prix Medicis Etranger, Spain’s Premi Llibreter), a California Book Award, and the mid-career St. Francis College Literary Prize. Aquarium, his implosive new book and first to be published by Grove, will take Vann to a wider audience than ever before.

Twelve year old Caitlin lives alone with her mother—a docker at the local container port—in subsidized housing next to an airport in Seattle. Each day, while she waits to be picked up after school, Caitlin visits the local aquarium to study the fish. Gazing at the creatures within the watery depths, Caitlin accesses a shimmering universe beyond her own. When she befriends an old man at the tanks one day, who seems as enamored of the fish as she, Caitlin cracks open a dark family secret and propels her once-blissful relationship with her mother toward a precipice of terrifying consequence.

In crystalline, chiseled yet graceful prose, Aquarium takes us into the heart of a brave young girl whose longing for love and capacity for forgiveness transforms the damaged people around her. Relentless and heartbreaking, primal and redemptive, Aquarium is a transporting story from one of the best American writers of our time.
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Book Junky's thoughts on "Aquarium"
updated on:3/27/2015

I teetered between a full 5 and a 4 star/“open book” rating for this one. I’d give it a five as the themes and discussion points are overflowing - death, family, emotional escape, romantic love, parental love, how a child loves their parents, parental choices, what is "abuse," homosexuality, economics, survival, child care, understanding of others, forgiveness, second chances, crazy imaginations… the list goes on and on. I also think it was well written from a 12 year old girl’s perspective (though the author is a guy). Even the parts where they talk about fish a lot. It didn’t slow the book down, so “well done” on that. I also like the originality of this book. Very refreshing! I’d put this as a 4 for the ending - it was a little too tied up in a bow. And part of the ending was just inappropriate (Without giving things away, 12 year olds should not be allowed THAT much freedom in my opinion - even in the name of "love".) Overall good read, interesting, and lots to discuss - so a great pick for book clubs.


By David Vann

Average Rating:
5.00 out of 5 (1 Clubie's ratings)

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