On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, a marriage is unravelling.
Gary, driven by thirty years of diverted plans, and Irene, haunted by a tragedy in her past, are trying to rebuild their life together. Following the outline of Gary's old dream, they're hauling logs out to Caribou Island in good weather and in terrible storms, in sickness and in health, to patch together the kind of cabin that drew them to Alaska in the first place.
Across the water on the mainland, Irene and Gary's grown daughter, Rhoda is starting her own life. She fantasizes about the perfect wedding day, whilst her betrothed, Jim the dentist, wonders about the possibility of an altogether different future.
From the author of the massively-acclaimed Legend of a Suicide, comes a devastating novel about a marriage, a couple blighted by past shadows and the weight of expectation, of themselves and of each other. Brilliantly drawn and fiercely honest in its depiction of love and disappointment, David Vann's first novel confirms him as one of America's most dazzling writers of fiction.
Roy is still young when his father, a failed dentist and hapless fisherman, puts a .44 magnum to his head and commits suicide on the deck of his beloved boat. Throughout his life, Roy returns to that moment, gripped by its memory and the shadow it casts over his small-town boyhood, describing with poignant, mercurial wit his parents' woeful marriage and inevitable divorce, their kindnesses and weaknesses, the absurd and comic turning-points of his past. Finally, in Legend of a Suicide, Roy lays his father's ghost to rest. But not before he exacts a gruelling, exhilarating revenge.
Revolving around a fatally misconceived adventure deep in the wilderness of Alaska, this is a remarkably tender story of survival and disillusioned love.