Goat Mountain
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Goat Mountain

3.31 (1,071 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In David Vann's searing novel Goat Mountain, an 11-year-old boy at his family's annual deer hunt is eager to make his first kill. His father discovers a poacher on the land, a 640-acre ranch in Northern California, and shows him to the boy through the scope of his rifle. With this simple gesture, tragedy erupts, shattering lives irrevocably.

In prose devastating and beautiful in its precision, David Vann creates a haunting and provocative novel that explores our most primal urges and beliefs, the bonds of blood and religion that define and secure us, and the consequences of our actions--what we owe for what we've done.

David Vann is the award-winning author of Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, A Mile Down, and Last Day on Earth.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 239 pages
  • 139.7 x 208.28 x 17.78mm | 226.8g
  • HarperTorch
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 006212109X
  • 9780062121097
  • 486,506

Review quote

"Vann's third novel is his most visceral yet: a grinding examination of killing, God and theunnamable forces that create a dynasty of violence. . . . This book is as all of Vann's fiction: provocative and unforgiving."--Kirkus Reviews
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Back cover copy

The prizewinning author of Dirt, Caribou Island, and Legend of a Suicide returns with a searing, morally complex novel about families, violence, regret, and shattered faith.

In the fall of 1978, on a 640-acre family ranch on Goat Mountain in Northern California, an eleven-year-old boy joins his grandfather, his father, and his father's best friend on the family's annual deer hunt.

Every fall they return to this dry, yellowed landscape dotted with oak, buckbrush, and the occasional stand of pine trees. Goat Mountain is what this family owns and where they belong. It is where their history is kept, where their memories and stories are shared. And for the first time, the boy's story will become part of their narrative, if he can find a buck. Itching to shoot, he is ready.

When the men arrive at the gate to their land, the father discovers a poacher and sights him through the scope of his gun. He offers his son a look--a simple act that will explode in tragedy, transforming these men and this family, forcing them to question themselves and everything they thought they knew.

David Vann creates a haunting and provocative novel, in prose devastating and beautiful in its precision, that explores our most primal urges and beliefs, the bonds of blood and religion that define and secure us, and the consequences of our actions--what we owe for what we've done.
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Rating details

1,071 ratings
3.31 out of 5 stars
5 15% (165)
4 30% (325)
3 31% (336)
2 16% (173)
1 7% (72)

Our customer reviews

Goat Mountain is the third novel by American author, David Vann. In the early fall of 1978, an eleven-year-old boy is on an annual deer hunting trip on a Californian mountainside with his father, his father’s best friend and his grandfather. This year, he expects to bag his first buck, but instead, in a life-changing moment, he shoots dead a poacher. The shocking series of events that follows this moment are told with matter-of-fact candour, revealing a flawed set of values, a moral void. Vann draws on his own family’s history of violence and his Cherokee ancestry to weave this compelling tale. The stirring, highly evocative, sometimes even lyrical prose is a counterpoint to the darkness and savagery of the subject matter. Gorgeous fragments like “Feel of the air, thinner in the cool sections, fattening up in the light” and “Cicadas turning the air into clicks and a pulse” and “The light not a light of this world but more a temperature, a coldness through which we could see” give the reader a feast of images, sounds and feelings. The boy’s inner monologue, filled with biblical references and uncensored thoughts, is often blackly comic. Vann’s thought-provoking and complex story will have the reader reflecting on a number of subjects: the sanctity of human life; the responsibility for a child’s actions; hunting and killing; conscience, goodness and moral fibre. This is a powerful read.show more
by Marianne Vincent
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